"Put Prevention into Practice" during 16th Annual Community Health Fair

With the theme "Put Prevention into Practice," the 16th Annual Community Health Fair at Midwestern State University will feature free health screenings and activities that teach health promotion, and disease and injury prevention for participants of all ages. Hours are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in the Don Flatt Gym at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

Although the fair is a screening session for various health conditions, it is also the culmination of a semester of hard work by students at MSU's Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services, and a chance to educate the public that affordable health care begins with prevention.

Free screenings include blood glucose, oxygen saturation, body mass index, hearing, height and weight, vision, HIV, STDs, lung cancer, and blood pressure readings. Educational information will be available about Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, testicular cancer, asthma and allergies, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions. Other material related to breast and testicular self exams, reading food labels, portion control, choking prevention, preventing spread of diseases, drunk driving simulation, fire safety, exercise, vaping/e-cigarettes, assault/rape prevention, stress reduction, dental/oral care, and more will be available.

Betty Bowles, Assistant Professor of Nursing at MSU's Wilson School of Nursing, said that since the first fair took place in 2001, 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.

"The fair brings the community to the campus, and it teaches students to communicate with the public," Bowles said. "This works with our goal of moving toward prevention and getting people to work for a healthier lifestyle, rather than treatment." Social work, psychology, dental hygiene, radiologic sciences, athletic training and respiratory therapy students also are involved with screenings and exhibits on living healthy.

Additionally, students learn important lessons in goal setting, event planning and organization - they are responsible for planning and staging the fair. They learn team work as they develop presentations, and they gain experience in working with community organization as they join 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 and registering as tissue and organ donors.

"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.