Free health fair attracts about 400 from Springfield community

Free health fair attracts about 400 from Springfield community

For some attendees of a free health fair in Springfield this week, it was a way to learn more about services offered in the community as well as an opportunity to get vaccinations, check their blood pressure and participate in list of health screenings.

This year’s annual Health Expo offered around 20 health screenings and saw booths from more than 60 organizations that offered a wide range of health services in Clark and Champaign counties.

The free event is organized annually by the Community Health Foundation through a number of sponsors, Executive Director Joy Rogers said. In addition to free health screenings and dozens of exhibitors, the expo offered fitness demonstrations, guides to healthily eating and discussions centered around healthy life choices.

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It also provided information centered around common illnesses as well as tips on how to better manage medical conditions such as hypertension. Rogers said that her organization has held some version of the health expo for the last 10 years and they usually see around 400 people in attendance.

She said the overall goal each year is to help residents lead healthier lives by offering a wide array of health and wellness information booths and screening services all in one location. The expo was held at the the Clark State Community College Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center on Tuesday evening.

The event initially started as a way to highlight women’s health, said Rogers. However, it has evolved over the years to address a number of health issues affecting residents in the region.

“We still have a mission to help women. But we also have a mission to help entire families,” she said.

This year’s event included a mental wellness room with professionals readily available to talk to attendees about mental health issues.

The Springfield Family YMCA also conducted health assessments, while other organizations offered training sessions such as how to use Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

As Tuesday kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, free mammograms were also offered during the event. Healthcare professionals also checked blood sugar levels and administered flu shots.

Springfield resident Claudia Truman, who mentioned that diabetes runs in her family, said she was able to monitor her blood sugar at the event as well as get her blood pressure checked.

This was her first time attending the Health Expo. An employee of McGregor Metalworking, Truman said she heard about the expo at work and said it’s a great opportunity for people, who may not have the time or ability, to get a number of health screenings out of the way.

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In addition to setting up the Health Expo each year, Rogers said the Community Health Foundation offers grants to nonprofits that offer health and wellness services. She said her organization will award $350,000 to local organizations this Spring.

Stephen Massey, director of advocacy for the trauma recovery center Citi Lookout, said his organization receives roughly $5,000 each year from the foundation. Sitting behind a booth at the expo on Tuesday, he said the event allows his organization —which offers services in Clark, Champaign, Greene, Montgomery and Madison counties— to reach out to new faces in the community.

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