Friday, December 7, 2012


Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s (SOPA) Philadelphia program offered free physical examinations to 26 special education students at John Wister Elementary School on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 as part of a Mini-MedFest event. Medical personnel from Geniuses, Albert Einstein, Crozer, Drexel University, and Christiana Hospitals and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine provided full screening services including eye exams, dental exams, and referrals for issues requiring additional medical attention.

The goals associated with MedFest are to offer free sports physicals and other health screening services to people with intellectual disabilities; recruit new athletes to Special Olympics; foster new partnerships between Special Olympics and the community; and provide health care providers with training and specialized experience in the examination and assessment of people with intellectual disabilities. In many cases, life-threatening conditions have been found and subsequently treated thanks to MedFest.

John Wister Elementary School currently participates in Project UNIFY®, an education-based project that uses the sports and education programs of Special Olympics to activate young people across the U.S in order to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change – fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.

“Project UNIFY® provide platforms for all youth to understand and value their peers with intellectual disabilities and empower and activate youth to create opportunities for sport, friendship and advocacy.” said Matt Aaron, SOPA President and CEO. “It was a pleasure to work with District officials and Principal Smith and her staff at John Wister Elementary School to conduct our first MedFest as a key part of our growing partnerships with the School District of Philadelphia.”

Plans are underway to hold a larger-scale MedFest on January 17, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in hopes of providing free medical examinations to more than 300 Special Olympics athletes and partners. For more information, please contact Nadirah D. McCauley, Outreach Director – Philadelphia at 215-671-5112 or