'Put Prevention into Practice' During Community Health Fair

'Put Prevention into Practice' During Community Health Fair

The upcoming 13th Annual Community Health Fair is more than a screening session for various health conditions. It's the culmination of a semester of hard work by students at Midwestern State University's College of Health Sciences and Human Services, and a chance to educate the public that affordable health care begins with prevention.

With the theme "Put Prevention into Practice," the fair will feature health screenings and activities that teach health promotion, and disease and injury prevention for participants of all ages. It runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 26 in the Don Flatt Gym at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

Blood pressure readings, tests for cholesterol/lipids, glucose, pulmonary function, hearing, vision, HIV/AIDS, STDs, depression, skin cancer, and Alzheimer's disease are among the different screenings that participants could receive. Educational activities related to nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, violence/abuse prevention, drug/alcohol abuse prevention, stress reduction, dental health, and more will be available. All screenings are free, except for the cholesterol screening and total lipids. Cholesterol is $3 and lipids are $10. Those tests also require patients to fast at least four hours before being tested.

Betty Bowles, Assistant Professor of Nursing at MSU's Wilson School of Nursing, said that the first fair was done as a gift to the community. Since then, it has evolved into an assignment for the senior nursing students in the community nursing class, where they learn that nursing goes beyond the clinical setting in offices or hospitals. "Most of the students' nursing experience has been on campus," Bowles said. "The fair brings the community to the campus and it gets the students out into the community and communicating with the public. This works with our goal of moving toward prevention and getting people to work for a healthier lifestyle, rather than treatment." Dental hygiene and respiratory therapy students also are involved with screenings and exhibits on living healthy.

Students also learn important lessons in goal setting, event planning and organization - they are responsible for planning and staging the fair. They learn team work with each other as they develop presentations, and they get experience in working with community organization as they partner with different service groups that will be represented at the fair.

Community members will have the opportunity to give back at the fair by donating blood, eyeglasses, registering as organ donors, and contributing food for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank.

"It's a chance for everyone involved to give something back to the community, all while learning how to stay healthy," Bowles said.

For information about this year's health fair, call Bowles at 940-397-4048.