Health & Education Focus of MedFest 2022

January 21, 2022 Events, Featured

Despite the current hold on many sports-related activities, Special Olympics Wisconsin and The Medical College of Wisconsin partnered to provide Milwaukee-area SOWI athletes a free sports physical at Columbia St. Mary’s Ascension Family Health Clinic in early January. Typically coined MedFest by SOWI Heathy Athletes programming, this year’s event looked a bit different but the reduced-capacity, COVID-safe offering allowed athletes the opportunity to be cleared for play once statewide restrictions lift.

Pre-registered Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes met with a team of medical staff, including faculty physicians, residents, and medical students affiliated with Medical College of Wisconsin. Attendees received vision, hearing, and oral screenings, reflex and mobility testing, and other important checks to allow for general competition.

In turn, MCW students and staff attended an information and education session hosted by SOWI Senior Director of Health Programs Melissa Schoenbrodt and SOWI Medical Director & MedFest Clinical Director Dr. Michael Clark, who addressed specific needs and trends of populations with intellectual disabilities. Specifically, studies have shown ID populations often suffer higher rates of chronic health conditions and lack access and support to essential health care needs. Healthy Athletes programming—including this annual MedFest event—helps SOWI athletes find necessary care sooner and more often.

“People with ID exist in every community out there—it’s important our health care professionals have knowledge, understanding, and resources to ensure their care is just as exceptional with ID populations,” Senior Director of Health Programs Melissa Schoenbrodt said. “It is through settings like MedFest that our next generation of medical professionals can better address the health and wellness needs of this often-underserved population.”

MedFest is one of eight flagship programs falling under the Healthy Athletes umbrella. To learn more about MedFest (and the seven other programs), check out the Healthy Athletes section of

Check out images from the January event on our Special Olympics Wisconsin Flickr page.

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