Community Outreach Winner: Larry Freeman

Community Outreach Winner: Larry Freeman
Synergy Saturday in Little Rock

After his father’s death at 63, Larry Freeman was on the hunt to support a nonprofit that offered regular free health care screenings. He couldn’t find an organization that checked all of those boxes, so he decided to create one himself.

He opened the nonprofit Synergy Saturday in 2015 to tailor health care to those who most need it in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Synergy Saturday hosts weekly pop-up style wellness events that offer free health screenings in Little Rock. The nonprofit has performed more than 4,459 screenings since it began in 2015.

“Our founding principle is simple: people do better as they feel better,” Freeman said. “Our pop-up health screening events serve as a functional solution by offering increased event frequency and incorporating targeted outreach.”

Free is key with these pop-up events, as the rising cost of health care keeps more and more Americans from receiving preventative health care that can help curb common diseases and illnesses. Synergy Saturday tests patients’ blood pressure, blood glucose levels, body mass index and cholesterol, which can help caregivers frame a patient’s overall well-being and discover any predisposition to chronic illnesses. Synergy Saturday is a free alternative to pricey co-pays or multiple doctors visits and the nonprofit’s team of qualified caregivers can help patients strategize a follow-up plan if any illness or disease is detected.

The nonprofit partners with local hospitals, teaching hospitals and universities to source students as volunteers and to serve, if qualified, as screeners. The partnership is a success for both Synergy Saturday and the students, as the students gain experiential knowledge and Synergy Saturday benefits from a continuous pool of screeners.

While Synergy Saturday is based in central Arkansas, Freeman has his eyes on the rural communities in the state that would greatly benefit from the nonprofit’s services. Synergy Saturday has identified specific counties where access to primary care services is a challenge. The nonprofit has acquired a decommissioned ambulance vehicle for non-emergency transport and mobile screening purposes to take its preventative care to rural communities. Freeman has plans to obtain a fleet of mobile health screening units to better serve these communities.

Screenings Synergy Saturday conducted from March 7, 2015 through Dec. 28, 2019

Synergy Saturday’s 2018 screening number, which was 155% of the goal of 500 screenings

The number of first-time medical and pharmacy students who have volunteered with Synergy Saturday through its Experiential Learning Opportunity program