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FOR RELEASE: August 21, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Faith Partners, Tabernacle and Ebenezer Baptist Churches To Host a Community Health Fair

Faith and community health partners will co-sponsor health screenings on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1829 N.E. 36th St. in Oklahoma City. The event is free to the public and will provide health education presentations and health screenings for the community.

The Turning Point Program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Tabernacle Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Sickle Cell Association Oklahoma Chapter, and the Alpha Upsilon Omega Langston University AKA Sorority are sponsoring the health fair. It will focus on health issues affecting men, women, youth and senior citizens. More than 40 organizations are committed to these outreach efforts to provide health education and specific health service screenings at the community level. This partnership effort with the faith community follows one of the recommendations outlined in the Oklahoma State Board of Health’s 2002 State of the State’s Health Interim Report, The Haves and the Have Nots.

The report focused on significant health disparities among Oklahoma’s ethnic minorities. Among the report’s findings are:

  • High heart disease death rates for Oklahoma’s African American and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High overall cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High lung cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.

“The Oklahoma State Board of Health’s report on health disparities draws attention to the need for more community outreach by health educators, providers and businesses in minority communities. We hope this annual congregational and community health fair will be one of many community outreach efforts across the state to help meet local health care needs in the minority and ethnic community,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch.

Several hospitals and other health service agencies will have physicians present to help with screenings. Free health screenings will be offered for prostate cancer screening, DRE screening, sickle cell screening, stroke evaluation and blood pressure screenings, cholesterol screenings, diabetes testing, glaucoma, and hearing screenings. For the youth there will bicycle safety training and immunizations.

Other services will include arthritis self-help assessments, reflexology, wellness consultation, body fat and health risk assessments, nutrition education, massage therapy, and chiropractic demonstrations. Prevention measures that include healthy, nutritious foods and simple, inexpensive exercise programs will be discussed.

Health partners include: OSDH Arthritis Network, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, American Heart Association, Integris Health, Mercy Community Health Outreach, St. Anthony Behavioral Medicine, Oklahoma City/County Health Department, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Mary Mahoney Medical Clinic, the OU College of Nursing, and the OSDH Immunization Service.

Some of the other health partners include: Catholic Charities, National Kidney Foundation, Oklahoma Donor Sharing Network, OSDH Injury Prevention Service, The Springlake Division of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Highway Safety Office, Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Service, Oklahoma Lupus Association, Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, The Breast Screening Center, St. Anthony Behavioral Medicine, Body and Soul Reflexology, Nikken Wellness, Central State Massage Academy, Troy & Dollie Smith Cancer Center, and the Chiropractic Wellness Center.

The Tabernacle Baptist Church congregation will participate in the health fair and will provide refreshments for the health providers and volunteers to express their gratitude for the medical providers’ commitment to community health. Also, they will provide self-care health manuals for its membership participants and drawings for prizes. The church will develop follow-up teams to contact people about services available for them.

For more information, contact the OSDH health fair coordinator Tom Nash at 405/271-6127.

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