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Health fair continues to grow in 11th year

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By CJ Fairfield

With more than 70 health service providers participating in the Frederick Community Health Fair, the crowds continue to grow.

The 11th annual health fair was held Saturday at the Frederick Fairgrounds and was organized by the Asian American Center of Frederick [AACF]. In partnership with Frederick Memorial Hospital, individuals get free services and screenings that range from bone density, blood pressure and glucose screenings as well as oral health education, fitness challenges, mental health evaluations and more. A new service this year was prevention and education about opioid addiction

Each year, the fair has more than 300 volunteers and brings in more than 1,000 people, according to Elizabeth Chung, executive director of AACF.

AACF is an immigrant-serving agency, she said, which provides services for 35 different languages.

“One of the key things is we try to target those who have language and cultural barriers,” Chung said. “Because we serve those immigrants we feel that it’s our responsibility.”

Chung added that the organization’s “doors are open,” explaining that they cater to all people of all walks of life, not just immigrants.

Christena Pazos just moved to Frederick and was attending the fair for the first time with her mother and son.

“We just moved to the area so we’re here to get resources and to find doctors,” she said.

Pazos, her mother and her son had their blood pressure taken and were planning to get a flu shot.

Sara Littleton is a registered nurse at Frederick Memorial Hospital and manages the hospital’s care transitions team and the community case managers.

This was the hospital’s fifth year at the fair, which Littleton said has a care clinic that deals with people with chronic diseases. The hospital also offered and transitions clinic that helps connect individuals to resources.

“We really try to offer a lot of screening services coupled with education,” she said.

She said the care transitions team takes those patients with abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure or other abnormalities and gets them connected with specific groups so a medical professional can follow up with them.

This is done through a multi-disciplinary team of individuals at the fair including nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists and others.

She said it’s paramount for individuals to know where those services are and how to navigate them.

“Bringing them here to an event like this, they can see what’s available in the community and start those connections and get the resources that they need,” she said.

Chung added that the fair isn’t an information-only event, but for medical professionals to follow up with the patient after the screening to discuss treatment options.

“Prevention means everything,” she said. “People need to be aware of the importance of screenings.”

She said at the fair in previous years, a few people were made aware of conditions they didn’t know they had, adding that 20 to 25 percent of the people who attend the fair are over 65.

“I see new faces, I see old faces, I see one man who is 94 years old and it’s his fourth year coming,” Chung said. “I’m sure he has Medicare but he still wants to be here. Even just one case, one person, one life we save is worth it.”

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