By Linda Cranford

Each year more and more people in Laurel-Jones County and surrounding areas are taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the South Central Health Care Foundation to receive free basic health care evaluations. The annual South Central Health Fair was held Friday, February 7 at South Central Place in Laurel and set a record for attendance. There were over 500 attendees at this year’s health fair.

“The health fair offers screenings that help patients to make a better decision about a wide range of health issues that you face every day,” explained Dr. Mark Horne, MD, internal medicine specialist and medical director of the South Central Diabetes Center.

“We have health education, health information, and numerous screenings available at no charge to the community,” said Karen Vanderslice, BSN, RN, community education coordinator at South Central Regional Medical Center. “The health fair is completely free because the cost of the event is covered by the South Central Health Care Foundation with funds raised at the Art of Healing and from other fundraisers held throughout the year.”

The screenings for individuals ages 18 and up included: anxiety and depression screening, balance screening, blood pressure screening, body mass index screening, bone mineral density screening, carbon monoxide screening, cataract screening, colon cancer risk assessment, diabetic foot screening, distracted driver simulation, facial sun damage screening, fall risk and home safety evaluation, non-fasting finger-stick cholesterol screening, non-fasting finger-stick glucose screening, pharmacy medication review, prostate cancer screening with PSA and DRE, and varicose vein screening.

Horne was at the health fair to talk with people about managing diabetes.

“We’re working to establish a full fledge team approach to the management of diabetes, including dietitians, certified diabetes educators, and a nurse practitioner who is focused on diabetes so we can provide advanced management of diabetes,” said Horne.

According to Vanderslice, if an individual took advantage of all the screenings available, they received approximately $500 in health care services.

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