Returning tohallowed grounds KU Med takes health care to Nicodemus By Lisa Scheller Photographs by Earl Richardson
t’s going to be a sizzler in Nicodemus, Kan. By early morning, the end-of-July temperature stretches toward 99 degrees. In the city park, festival volunteers dip cut-up chicken in egg and flour, preparing to fry up a crowd-sized batch. They work to the tune of laughter, chatter and an occasional breakout of Gospel music as singers rehearse for the evening’s performance. Throughout Nicodemus, excitement builds for the town’s annual Homecoming Emancipation Celebration. A welcome summer breeze crosses miles of rolling farm ground, whispers through eastern red cedars and Chinese elms, and ruffles the flaps of a nearby white canvas tent about half the size of a tennis court. The tent is home to the KU Medical Center’s Nicodemus Adult Health Screening Summer Program. In the tent, medical students, faculty and staff from KU check celebration participants’ blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels and more. They will present several health education sessions during the day-long clinic. A parked bus quietly hums next to the tent, its air-conditioned rooms offering private spaces for procedures such as cervical and prostate examinations. The services are free, and the flow of visitors keeps the volunteers busy. Some who come to Nicodemus see a doctor just once a year — here.