100 BMBC health fair eyes community focus
by By RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Sep 17, 2012 | 1138 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Continuing an outreach aimed at all people that began five years ago, 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. is gearing up for its sixth annual Community Health Fair set for Saturday, Sept. 29, at Bradley Square Mall.

The four-hour focus on health care providers and vendors in the medical and pharmaceutical industry will offer a variety of free screenings for all Cleveland and Bradley County area residents, all ages, any race or culture and both genders.

“This is not just for minorities,” according to Jonathan Porter, immediate past president of the community-respected 100 BMBC organization who is co-chairing this year’s health-focused event with fellow group member Oscar Kelley.

“This is a Community Health Fair,” he added. “That’s why we hold it at the Bradley Square Mall because it’s easily accessible to all residents. Health affects everyone, not just minority groups.”

In its first five years, the fair has averaged serving from 700 to 1,400 people of all ages, ethnicities and cultures, Porter pointed out. This is significant because as the Cleveland and Bradley County community continues to grow — as it has over the past few years — its diverse base of nationalities and cultures also has grown, he explained.

This is why the organization is recruiting as many health care providers and medical vendors as possible who are willing to sponsor a booth for $35.

“We hope to have as many as 35 to 40 health vendors,” Porter stressed. “This is probably the largest Health Fair of the year that reaches out to the entire community as opposed to being isolated to a target audience. We are a community organization and we want to take part in it.”

He added, “The health fair is just one way our organization tries to give back to this community.”

Health care providers and vendors from the medical and pharmaceutical industry who want to participate in the fair should contact Porter (423-596-0740) or Kelley (423-479-6271). Providers are invited to contact the event co-chairmen as late as the day of the event in order to participate, Porter stressed.

Types of screenings or information to be available at the popular health fair include asthma/spirometry, blood pressure, breast model, bone scan, cigarette smoking, circulation exam, dental exam, health mini-lecture, HIC/AIDS screening, mental health, nutrition education, prostate model, vision and hearing screening, and weight management.

As is a tradition at the health fair, voter registration also will be provided.

“This is an opportunity for health care providers and other medical and pharmaceutical industry representatives to present health information, and for the public to take advantage of a variety of screenings,” Porter said. “It is an effort to help participants possibly identify health care concerns and aid in reducing health care disparities.”

And that’s not all.

While area residents are perusing the health booths, talking to medical professionals and boning up on tips and suggestions for proper health maintenance, they’ll also be entertained on the mall stage by some talented groups. According to Porter, two will include the Cleveland Middle School Dance Team and the Northeast Recreation Center Dance Team.

Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the half-day health fair will feature all things local in both health and entertainment.

Since its inception in 1994, the 100 Black Men of Bradley County organization has provided mentoring opportunities for hundreds — probably thousands — of young men and women in the Cleveland and Bradley County community. Additionally, the forward-thinking group has provided more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving high school students whose goal is to continue their education into college.

Several years ago, 100 BMBC identified four key components to its community mission: Mentoring (which has been a dominant part of the group’s work since the beginning), Education, Health and Wellness, and Economic Empowerment.

“Five years ago, we expanded our mission with the start of the health fair,” Porter cited. “This was a way for our organization to begin addressing the health needs of individuals in the entire Cleveland and Bradley County community.”