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July 10, 2014, 2:55 pm

LaSalle holds Community Health Fair, health screenings

The LaSalle University Community Building Team (CBT) made an effort to increase health awareness amongst Germantown families with its 2nd annual Community Health Fair held Oct.5.

The fair was hosted at the Shoppes at LaSalle and featured informational booths, health screenings and entertainment from the school’s cheerleaders and music program.

“We all came together to create positive interactions between the community and the university,” said Tirease Holmes, CBT Chairperson and Director of Off-Campus Communities at LaSalle. “The university has a lot of resources and we want to share them with the community.”

Throughout the three-hour long event, local health foundations such as Bebashi (sexual health) and national foundations – The American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen for the Cure (breast cancer) distributed educational materials.

United Healthcare distributed Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid applications. One representative at the fair said she was able to help a family whose husband lost a job and heath insurance, sign up for coverage.

LaSalle nutrition students held one-on-one discussions about healthy eating, proper food portions and access to fresh foods.

One nutrition student said she advised a resident on how to access healthy foods through the Coalition for Hunger and the local food bank, because the resident cited high food costs as a problem.

LaSalle nursing students provided free cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes screenings. While testing one man’s blood pressure, a nurse talked with him about the benefits of quitting cigarettes. Community members were also treated to a free, professional Zumba session.

In offering all these opportunities to learn and be proactive in their health, Germantown residents said the fair was a plus for the neighborhood.

“As soon as I walked in, I [found] a book I’ve been looking for 40 years,” said Morris Jones, a Germantown resident. Jones said the book – ‘How to Eat to Live’ by Elijah Muhammad would be useful in his mission “to start monitoring my diet,” which he said would make healthcare easier for him in the future. “I have to make sure my diet is on point. You can [avoid] the [high] insurance costs by doing health prevention.”

Naffesha Spence, a mother who lives in Germantown, said with the help of the fair, she learned the “breakdown of the food pyramid and how to lose weight by portioning food.”

She added that having access to such information was vital for the well-being of the community.

“Sometimes people cannot get the information they need [and] this is how you bring it to them. It is always good to have information, because they say that’s how we die off – by not knowing anything.”