September 14, 2014
Report of September 14, 2014 Health Fair
GNFAHealth Fair Serves Diverse Community By: Dr. Ripi Kohli-Chhabra
A heavily attended free Health Fair, open to people of all different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds was held at Guru Nanak Foundation of America (GNFA), Silver Spring, Maryland, on September 14 from 11 am to 3 pm.With six hundred attendees of all hues availing themselves of multiple medical resources under one roof, the acute need for such services was apparent.
The initial kick off to the Health Fair was one week prior. On September 7, 2014 Quest Diagnostics sponsored 250 free labs at GNFA that screened for Complete Blood Count (CBC), CompleteMetabolic Panel (CMP), Hemoglobin A1c for diabetes screening, Lipid Panel for high cholesterol diagnosis and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test for evaluating thyroid gland status. Patients then had an opportunity to return a week later, and discuss the findings of their blood work with one of the 33 volunteer physicians present on-site. Cardiologist Dr. Priti Kaur Sood stated, “Patients whose tests found newly diagnosed diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol or other treatable conditions will surely reap long-term health benefits, and by accessing the resources we have for them today will lower their overall long-term risk.”
At the Health Fair, there was efficient triaging of patients to either primary care, or to a dozen medical specialties, and/or to the impressive group of 32 vendors housed under an enormous 40 x 60 foot tent. In addition to primary care, the medical specialties available for on-site, free consultations in a privacy setting included cardiology, dentistry, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology-oncology, nephrology, neurology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, radiology, rheumatology and podiatry.Walgreens sponsored 400 free flu shots. Other valuable free services offered were bone density screening by the Asian American Health Initiative, glaucoma screening by the Society for Prevention of Blindness, hearing test and dental exam. There were yoga sessions on site, diabetes and cancer prevention education vendors, healthy living demos and advice booths. Mental and behavioral health information, often a taboo topic, was sensitively offered by Counselors Helping South Asians/Indians (Chai). The Maryland Health Connection enrollment information to the uninsured and under-insured about their health care coverage options under the Federal Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and booths with information aboutWIC programs and Holy Cross Hospital clinics for the uninsured in Aspen Hill and Gaithersburg were deemed very informative by attendees.A diverse array of voluntary charitable organizations such as Philippines Nurses Association, Chinese Culture and Community Center, Muslim Community Clinic Inc., Silver Spring, the Asian American Center of Frederick and the Asian American Health Initiatives, supported the Health Fair.
There was enthusiastic give back by the attendees. The INOVA blood donation mobile van was visited by a steady stream of blood donors. The Samar Group obtained bone marrow sign ups and theWashington Regional Transplant enrolled organ donors.
The Health Fair was coordinated by health administrator Mr. Mayur Mody, and the Chairperson of GNFA, Sardarni Harsharan Kaur. The logistics team coordinator was Dr. Charanjit Singh Khurana, assisted by Dr. Gurinder Singh and Dr. Sheena Khurana. Dr. Harminder Singh Sethi served as ChiefMedical Officer and Dr. Priti Sood headed the team of volunteers. Prabhleen Kaur Aneja coordinated blood donations. Sardarni Harsharan Kaur stated, “The outstanding accomplishments of the day were made possible by the cohesive and dedicated collaboration of the Health Fair planning team, physicians, allied medical personnel, county and state health agencies, voluntary charitable organizations, countless volunteers, GNFA management, GNFA bhai sahibs, GNFA Khalsa School and the Health Fair Advertising team as well as the support of the sangat.” On behalf of GNFA, she thanked Coordinator Mayur Mody for providing excellent leadership, and inspiring us all with his vision, selfless service and indefatigable energy. Thanks were extended to Radio Zindagi and Jus Punjabi for advertising and coverage.
Fair attendee Mrs. Kavita Dawar stated, “This Health Fair not only saves us time in comparison to so many days that pass on by until our parents get to be seen by different specialists, but it has empowered them to be advocates for their own health.” She was accompanying her sister who brought their 80-year-old father from Virginia. Patients stated they were thankful for receiving the physicians’ undivided attention and expressed that the volunteers were compassionate and provided nurturing for them throughout the day. Holy Cross Hospital’s community outreach program representatives opined that this was one of the most organized and comprehensive health fairs they have been to.
Free food for all attendees provided by GNFA and a moon bounce for kids set up by Amerigroup added an element of enjoyment at the Fair. An upbeat atmosphere was palpable, and the glorious Fall skies played a vital part to the success of the day. The pizza delivery man asked, “Is this open to me too? I don’t have insurance.” On being told he was most welcome, he smiled and said he would be right back after completing his shift.
“This health fair was not only beneficial for the patients, but uplifting for the Sikh community as a whole. Going forward, the patients today have made a positive association with the Sikh community,” stated Dr. Sadhna Kaur Khatri.
Given the overwhelming community response and the clear need for such Health Fairs, GNFA has committed to making the Health Fair an annual event.
December 5, 2015
Health Fair Report in Indian Panorama