Community Health Fair going strong at 30

July 29, 2012 • Local News

Ain’t nothin’ like free.
Health care providers and service organizations assembled at the Roswell Boys & Girls Club for the 30th annual Community Health Fair, Saturday, offering a number of services at no cost, from screenings and check-ups to counseling and education.

At a time when health care costs continue to climb, residents lined up for free services like blood sugar screenings, cholesterol screenings, height and weight checks, blood pressure checks, EKGs and body fat analysis.

“We all know it is difficult to afford insurance,” Jane Batson, dean of health at ENMU-R, said, “and there may be programs that are helpful. The most important thing is to look at what you need in terms of your own health care. For instance, if you have a history of diabetes in the family, try to get some access to screening to be sure that things are going OK.”

Batson said the uninsured [auth] rate in Chaves County is at more than 30 percent of the population, highlighting how important it is that people obtain the information that helps them find resources in health care.

“We know that in America we have an epidemic of obesity, and we have problems with high blood pressure and with cardiac disease,” she said.

“Particularly in Chaves County, some of the leading causes of death are related to that. So it’s very important for people to start early — to get checked. When they have an opportunity like this, it’s great for them.”

Eastern New Mexico Medical Center had information tables set up for people learn about its urology and OB/GYN clinics, and provided blood pressure checks. Audra Chavez conducted the checks and offered counseling, letting people know if they should follow up with their primary care physician.

“People were lined up at the door before it even opened at 9,” Chavez said. “It’s great. To be able to provide the community with free services, you really can’t put a value on that.”

The center’s Family Practice Residency Program provided height and weight checks, with volunteers from ENMU-R and the Roswell Fire Department.

Student Laura Orozco helped residents calculate their body mass index, and shared information about a phone app called Weigh What Matters.

“If you want to lose weight, you can track your eating habits. There’s really nothing to it!” Orozco said of the app. “It’s very good because patients who see they’re overweight can talk to their provider about it, and set goals.”

Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest set up at the fair to talk about opportunities in Girl Scouting, and handed out take-home Child Identification kits to parents. Rebecca Sherwood, who coordinates Girl Scouts activities in Chaves County, said the kits allow parents to keep information about their child, such as fingerprinting, dental work and physical features, handy.

“I think it’s vital. My daughter is 15, and even at that age, I need to know how tall she is, how much she weighs,” Sherwood said. “If something happened, you need to have that information at hand and not have to search for it.”

Of the event, Sherwood said that whenever agencies and service organizations assemble in one place, the community wins. “It’s excellent, because we’re not always aware of all these opportunities.

“You hear so often, ‘There’s nothing to do in Roswell.’ But there are so many things to do in Roswell — at low cost, at no cost.”

The Community Health Fair was sponsored by Chaves County Health Planning Council, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, ENMU-R and New Mexico Department of Health.

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