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Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County hosts annual back-to-school health fair

ELKHART, Ind. – The Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County is hosting its annual Health Fair and Back-to-School Fest on Saturday.

The goal of the event is to promote healthy living and active lifestyles before children enter the classrooms this fall. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., community partners will provide free screenings and health information to students and their families.

The Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County says program like this address the health disparities among Indiana residents.

“We do have those individuals who are, that are uninsured,” said Tara Morris. “So at least here they can do this one stop in, get the information they need, the needed screenings available, and then leave there knowing, ‘What is my blood pressure number? What is my cholesterol and as well as my glucose which is dealing with diabetes?’ You would just be amazed by how many people don’t have that access.”

Some of the services include dental and vision checkups, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, and diabetes and HIV/AIDS testing. Students can receive a physical, but a school physical form must be provided. Backpacks and school supplies will also be given away.

Medical services and backpacks will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

The event is open to anyone, but the target audience is minorities. According to the most recent CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities report, racial and low income minorities suffer from more health problems. The report says minorities have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS and high preventable hospitalization rates.

Education and prevention programs could lower those numbers.

“So what we do through education programs, outreach and awareness, we go ahead and wake up that little person that says, ‘Ok I really do need this, I don’t know where I’m standing right now,’” said Morris. “We have a homeless population as well as the working poor. You know, we want to make sure they know this information so we’re out here doing what we need to do represent minority health and the medically underserved population.”

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