"Put Prevention into Practice" during 17th Annual Community Health Fair

"Put Prevention into Practice" during 17th Annual Community Health Fair

With the theme "Put Prevention into Practice," the 17th 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. Friday, 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 result of a team effort 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 pressure, height, weight, body mass index, blood glucose, lung function, HIV/AIDS, STDs, vision, and stress. Disease prevention information will be available for heart disease, hypertension, depression/anxiety, alcoholism, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, allergies, and stress.

Health promotion topics include dental hygiene, smoking cessation, contraception, recycling, sleep, and nutrition. Other safety information concerning the Heimlich maneuver, fire, bicycle, guns, traffic, self-defense, water, texting while driving, and environmental issues will be available.

Betty Bowles, Associate 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 extends 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, 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 teamwork as they develop presentations, and they gain experience in working with community organizations 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, nonperishable items for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, outdated prescription eyeglasses, and by 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.

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