Meridian Star

March 15, 2013

Health fair offers free screenings

Event to take place Saturday

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     With a sole mission of promoting health awareness in the community as well as encouraging individuals to assume responsibility for their own health, the Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi (EPRNM), District V, will host their annual Community Health Fair this weekend.

    Set for Saturday at the East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA) auditorium, the health fair will offer free screenings and counseling for cholesterol, breast cancer awareness, hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease, smoking cessation, nutrition and other health concerns. Health care providers, physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians and other health professions will be on site.

    "Our continual goal is to provide quality health care screenings and education to members of the surrounding community – insured or uninsured – as a means to decrease health care disparities," said Sandra Hardaway, president of EPRNM, District V.

    The nurses association is partnering with local businesses, organizations and health providers to sponsor the community health fair. Last year, more than 150 residents took advantage of the free health screenings. In anticipation of increased community participation at this year's event, more healthcare vendors will be available.

    Kidney disease will be a new health emphasis of the fair. According  to Betty Young-Cryer, who, along with Gloria McAlpine, is coordinator of Saturday's event, there has been a substantial increase of kidney disease statewide, particularly in the African-American community.

    "It's on the rise, and we want to make sure that people are more aware of kidney disease in the areas of prevention," Young-Cryer said.

    EPRNM, District V, has joined Pair Up, the American Kidney Fund's new national campaign empowering women to protect themselves – and the people they love – from kidney disease. While Pair Up focuses on women, the local nurses association is reaching out to people from all walks of life.

    "When a patient is on dialysis, it's too late," Young-Cryer said. "We want to do more primary management into prevention and wellness."

    The community health fair is held in conjunction with the Eliza Pillars Nurses of Mississippi Statewide Initiative –  Prevention Early detection, Advocacy, Referral and Living healthy, also known as the PEARL Initiative.

    In 2010, the membership of the statewide nurses organization was surveyed to identify the top four serious health issues that affect African Americans. Four areas of priority were identified: obesity;    diabetes; cardiovascular disease; and stroke.

     Through the statewide health disparities initiative, 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.

    According to McAlpine response to the health fair has been positive from local businesses, churches, organizations and health care providers. This year's partners are: Mississippi Nursing Association, District 16; Anderson Regional Medical Center, South; CHF Management Center; The Pentecostal Church of God; West Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church; Wal-Mart Vision Center; the Lauderdale County Detention Facility; Magnolia Foot Clinic; Greater Meridian Health Care Clinic; State Farm Insurance Agency-Chris McDonald, agent; Wesley United Methodist Church; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Delta Nu Zeta Chapter; and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Meridian Alumnae Chapter.

    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, Neshoba and Newton counties – organized in 1985.

Want to go?

What: Community Health Fair

When: Saturday, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA) auditorium, 2128 Highway 39 North

Cost: Free

Information: (601) 527-3335 or (601) 479-0725