WINGATE — Whether you’re diligently keeping your New Year’s health resolution or a staunch opponent of even making one, you can benefit from the Wingate University Health and Wellness Fair, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the Union County Agricultural Center.
Hearing and vision screenings, glucose and trigliceride testing, blood pressure checks and flu shots — all free of charge — are among the many services to be offered that day.
More than 70 organizations will be part of the fair, which is being sponsored by Novant Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Walgreens, the Union County Health Department, Food Lion and Wingate University.
Carolyn Ford, the University’s director of community health outreach and a professor in its School of Pharmacy, said uninsured residents — which make up over 13 percent of Union County’s total population and one in four of those in the lowest income bracket — often fail to get the care they need.
She also said that she hopes the fair can help remedy that problem by immediately linking screened patients with a free clinic.
“A lot of times, people go get screened and are alerted to a problem, but they don’t necessarily know what to do next,” Ford said.
She went on to say that recommending that they see their primary care physician isn’t helpful if they don’t have one.
At the health fair, Novant will be teamed up with Community Health Services, which serves patients ages 18 to 64 with annual incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
As soon as qualifying patients are screened, they can step to the next table and register with the clinic, according to release.
“Once people get their paperwork complete, then, whenever they are sick, they are already considered an established patient when they come into the clinic and can be seen on the same day if an appointment is available,” explained Cindy Cole, CHS-UC executive director.
“We want to let folks know we are no longer just a diabetes clinic,” Cole said. “We offer primary care by a healthcare provider, emergency prescription assistance, at-home glucose testing supplies, lab tests, a grocery program and more, and we accept new patients — documented or non-documented.”
Ford said the fair’s overarching goal is to improve the health of the whole community.
“The primary way we can do that is to help people connect with needed services and to educate them about how to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health,” Ford said.
Wingate University physical therapy students will perform fall-risk assessments, and pharmacy students will offer medication counseling and take-back. A section of the 6,000-square-foot Agricultural Center will be reserved for children and their parents.
“The library will have representatives there. We’ll have dental screenings, and nursing students will do some physical fitness activities,” Ford said. “Also, children who are not up-to-date with their preventive care can get free vaccinations via Novant Health’s Community Care Cruiser.”
Free flu shots will be offered by Walgreens, and families will be able to sample some healthy recipes and enjoy demonstration classes in Zumba and yoga.
The Monroe Aquatics and Fitness Center will provide fitness information; and a range of agencies will fill participants in on nutrition, mental health, hydration, contraception, hand-washing, e-cigarettes and more.
Information on health issues such as cancer, diabetes, strokes and dementia will also be provided.
Giveaways will include pedometers, water bottles and totes, all aimed at reminding participants of ways to improve their health, a key goal for insurance provider Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“In the over 80 years of BCBSNC, we have always focused on the health and well-being of all those living in North Carolina,” said Michael Restaino, director of community relations for the company’s Charlotte office. “Events such as the Wingate Health Fair help educate individuals about their healthcare while encouraging them to take an active role and have ownership in their personal health as well as their family members’.”
Restaino also said, “If we all strive for these goals, we can help control the health-care costs of our families and to our members across the state.”
The Union County Agricultural Center is located at 3230 Presson Road in Monroe.