Some 200 people attended a community health fair hosted last week by Drew Memorial Hospital. The community health fair, held at the hospital’s Allied Health Building, provided health screenings and information about local health resources.

health fair 1The high-traffic crowd was consistent throughout the day, with the largest group of attendees arriving in the morning.

“The attendance before lunch was even higher than we expected,” said Heidi Flemister, business development coordinator for the hospital. “Our vendors were really wonderful and many kept their booths open for almost 12 hours. We were glad to offer a long health fair to make it convenient for people with any schedule.”

health fair 2Laboratory staff performed more than 100 free blood tests, and rain checks are still coming in for those health fair attendees who did not fast overnight, according to Shane Paschall, director of the Drew Memorial Hospital lab. “We are very excited about the turnout,” Paschall said. “The participation of the community this year surpasses any we’ve seen in previous years.”

Offering free blood testing at the health fair provided area residents an opportunity to gain insight to their health in a convenient setting. “We are pleased that we can provide this service to our community,” Paschall said. “It’s our hope that by offering free blood testing, it is that much easier for people to take an active role in their healthcare.”

In addition to the blood tests, the hospital performed approximately 65 free echocardiograms (EKGs), much higher than recent years. Attendees were also offered BMI and blood pressure screenings, facilitated by UAM-McGehee nursing students. “The nursing students were amazing at the health fair, volunteering in several roles beyond providing the screenings,” said Flemister, noting that the nursing students also helped direct people to the different parts of the health fair and played games outdoors with children who came after school.

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The hospital is always looking for ways to engage the community and get them involved in their healthcare, according to Flemister. “We enjoyed creating this event especially because we had information for people of all ages,” she said. “Knowing what is available to you at the hospital, and available in our community through other organizations, is essential. The community health fair was the perfect chance to spread the word about how to access our community’s many health services.”

Because the event was such a success, Drew Memorial Hospital has already begun planning for another community health fair for the spring.