By Ida Brown
A local registered nurses organization's initiative to address the community's healthcare disparities gets under way Saturday.
The Eliza Pillars Nurses of Mississippi (EPNM), District V, will hold their annual community-wide health care screenings event at East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA), 2128 Highway 39 North. The event is held in conjunction with the annual statewide PEARL Initiative: P-Prevention, E-Early detection, A-Advocacy-Referral and L-Living Healthy.
In 2011, the EPNM membership was surveyed to identify the top four serious health issues that affect African Americans. Four areas of priority were identified:
• Cardiovascular disease
Through the statewide health disparities initiative, the Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi's primary aim is early detection and advocacy for healthy lifestyle behaviors. Community health fairs are one of the many ways this is achieved
EPNM has partnered with several local businesses, organizations and health providers for Saturday's health fair. Event coordinators Gloria McAlpine and Betty Cryer expressed excitement at the "overwhelming participation from businesses, organizations and health care providers."
Partners for this year’s event are: East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Pentecostal Church of God, New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Perry Wallace and Wesley United Methodist Church.
Vendors will be on site to provide health education and screenings. Physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nutritionists and social workers also will be available.
"We encourage the public to come out and take advantage of this health education and screening," Cryer said.
The Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi (EPRNM) is a state organization of minority nurses named after the first African-American nurse in Mississippi. District V – which includes Lauderdale, Wayne and Newton counties – organized in 1985 with the mission to educate the community about health care issues and to assist them in navigating through the health care system, thus ensuring improved clinical outcomes for patients, Cryer said.