Sponsored again by 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc., the people-friendly and health-savvy festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. near the mall’s main stage and continue through 2 p.m.
While area residents are visiting the medical booths and receiving a variety of free health screenings, they will be entertained by students representing the Cleveland Middle School and Northeast Recreation Center dance teams, according to Jonathan Porter, immediate past president of 100 BMBC and who is co-chairing this year’s health fair with fellow member Oscar Kelley.
“This is not just for minorities,” Porter stressed. “This is a Community Health Fair. 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 health fair — thought to be the largest such public event in Bradley County — has averaged from 700 to 1,400 visitors who have participated in many of the on-site screenings. Others have taken advantage of information — printed and verbally — offered at the variety of health-provider booths.
Porter said 100 BMBC hopes to attract as many as 35 to 40 booths at the health fair. Providers wishing to participate by sponsoring a booth for $35 should contact Porter at 423-596-0740 or Kelley at 423-479-6271. Porter said booth sponsors may contact him or Kelley as late as the morning of the event (Saturday, Sept. 29) in order to reserve a spot.
Types of screenings or information expected to be available include asthma/spirometry, blood pressure, breast model, bone scan, cigarette smoking, circulation exam, dental exam, health mini-lecture, HIV/AIDS screening, mental health, nutrition education, prostate model, vision and hearing screening, weight management and perhaps others.
In another tradition at the health fair, voter registration also will be provided. Kelley, who is a member of the Bradley County Election Commission, invited area residents to register to vote while visiting any or all of the health fair booths.
Because medical, health care and pharmaceutical providers are giving their time and professional talents to health fair participants, Porter encouraged residents to take advantage of this unique chance to learn more about their own well-being.
“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 stressed. “It is an effort to help participants possibly identify health care concerns and aid in reducing health care disparities.”
The health fair represents one of 100 BMBC’s four key components: Mentoring (which the community group has offered for years), Education, Health and Wellness, and Economic Empowerment.
“Five years ago, we expanded our mission with the start of the health fair,” Porter said. “This was a way for our organization to begin addressing the health needs of individuals in the entire Cleveland and Bradley County community.”
Since its 1994 inception, the 100 BMBC organization has provided mentoring opportunities to a vast array of Cleveland and Bradley County young people, Porter noted. Additionally, the group has provided more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving high school students whose goal is to continue their education into the post-secondary years.
All are welcome to the health fair — men and women, all races and ethnicities, any culture and all ages, Porter stressed.