Health and Wellness Expo attracts local EMS agencies


Area empolyers from fire and ambulance programs, law enforcement and the military were on hand for the Health and Wellness Expo on April 15. This years Expo also featured a new event known as the BioHazard Games. The series of games included an obstacle course coordinated by EMS students and a relay race open to professionals, students, faculty, and staff. Several air ambulance helicopters also landed on campus as part of the event. 

A large selection of emergency vehicles and aircraft were on display last Friday outside the Julio S. Leon Health Sciences Center for the second annual Missouri Southern Health and Wellness Expo. Area employers from fire and ambulance programs, law enforcement and the military were also on hand to discuss available opportunities for students in the four state area.  

“This event shows the nursing department wants to get the community involved with what we’re doing,” said President of the Missouri Southern Student Nursing Association, Keesha Maynard. “We want you here; we want to educate you and show what we can do for you.”  

The morning began with a session for EMS students which taught them how to coordinate a landing zone for emergency aircraft. Starting at 10 a.m., five aircraft from Mercy Life Line, EagleMed, Cox Care and the Missouri Highway Patrol began landing on campus near the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center. 

Some students were even able to ride in the choppers.

This year’s expo also featured a new spirited contest called the Biohazard Games. The event featured an obstacle course coordinated by EMS students. The relay race was open to teams of four people in three categories – professionals; students, faculty and staff; and amateurs. 

Teams had to “rescue” a mannequin, which they then had to transport through a series of obstacles designed by the dental hygiene, nursing, and respiratory therapy programs, as well as the Show-Me Gold officer training program. Winning teams received a traveling trophy. Other competitions involving academics, physical skills, and problem-solving were also a big hit.

“The Biohazard games were hilarious and fun, it was a definite success,” said Rebecca Loewen, vice president of the Missouri Southern Student Nursing Association. “Everyone who watched or participated had a great time, and it will be a welcome addition to the event itinerary each year,” 

According to Loewen, the only disappointment was the lack of student involvement. 

“To make the event more successful we will have to think of exciting ways to promote student engagement. However, it was better than last year, and I believe that the expo will only gain popularity and get better with time,” she said. 

Thad Torix, an instructor and clinical coordinator for the EMT/Paramedic Department, was one of the main organizers of the event. 

According to Loewen, Torix was able to get more vendors, recruiters, and sources for students

 “He was determined to make the event a success, and I think he did everything in his power to ensure everyone had the best time possible,” she said.

Janet Taylor, a flight nurse from Mercy Life Line, gave presentations on topics such as emergency childbirth and hypothermia. 40 vendors from as far away as Springfield and Branson were also available to meet with students and the community. Hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks gave the event a festive atmosphere.