HOUSTON (September 24, 2015)

A group of Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital volunteers, staff and affiliated physicians conducted free pre-participatory physicals for 92 students from eight area elementary, middle and high schools on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The physicals were set up to help local students meet an Aug. 31 deadline set by Houston Independent School District (HISD), which required middle school and high school students to obtain clearance from their healthcare providers before they could participate in marching band activities.

“It was important for us to offer the pre-participatory physicals on multiple levels,” said Melissa Montoya Celi, M.D., a family medicine physician affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northwest. “Our first priority is always to advance the health and safety of the community. But it’s also really important to the staff and physicians at Memorial Hermann Northwest to be active within the community whenever possible. This was an excellent opportunity to do both.”

Students who participate in marching band were able to meet the HISD deadline, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Montoya Celi and others. Many students were accompanied by family members, who were able to enjoy complimentary refreshments while their son or daughter received their comprehensive physical exam.

“A yearly physical exam is important to ensure students are in good health but also help to identify any physical problems or risk factors as soon as possible,” Dr. Montoya Celi said.

For S.P. Waltrip High School Ram Band Director Jesse Espinosa, the timing of the physicals was an added benefit.

“The health of our students means a great deal to us, so I’m thankful for Memorial Hermann Northwest stepping up,” Espinosa said. “On another level, with nearly 200 students in our band, to make sure everyone was going through the proper procedures was really a challenge. The support is a tremendous help to our school and band.”

Nearly 30 percent of the band, 53 total, received physicals at Memorial Hermann Northwest prior to the deadline.

Students from John H. Reagan High School, Houston Heights High School, Jefferson Davis High School, The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Frank Black Middle School, Clifton Middle School, MC Williams Middle School, Bammel Middle School and Highland Heights Elementary also received physicals at Memorial Hermann Northwest.