If you’ve been putting off that wellness checkup, this weekend is your chance to get back on a healthy track.
Kenai Peninsula College will host a health fair Saturday morning that brings together community organizations, medical professionals and students to provide health education, resources and free or low-cost medical screenings.
“It’s a very popular event. Most years the house is packed,” said Audrey Standerfer, Kenai Peninsula College Student Health Clinic nurse and adjunct professor for the Certified Nurse Aid program.
Standerfer, who has been involved in the event for the past three years, said the event typically draw 80 to 110 attendees seeking low-cost blood tests offering a comprehensive workup of health indicators. The tests, which can cost hundreds of dollars at a doctor’s office or hospital, Standerfer said, will be available for a $45 fee.
“It’s our way or helping those with problems meeting the costs of doing lab work,” Standerfer said.
Other low-cost screenings, such as those testing glucose, vitamin levels or testosterone, will also be available. Admission to the event is free, as are many of the health services, such as blood pressure measurements, vision and hearing tests.
A team of professional phlebotomists will tackle the blood drawing, but all other services are provided by volunteers, Standerfer said.
The event also brings together community and public health organizations that will provide a wealth of health resources on everything from elder care to physical therapy.
The LeeShore Center, a community shelter for victims of domestic abuse sexual assault, will be on site to provide information and answer questions about their programs.
Ashley Blatchford, LeeShore education and training assistant, said the event is a good opportunity for those who may not be comfortable dropping by the center on their own to seek out resources. It’s also an opportunity for LeeShore to raise awareness and connect with other service organizations and build community connections, Blatchford said.
The event is one of approximately 100 that the Alaska Health Fair, a nonprofit health education and prevention organization, offers to communities across the state annually. The organization brings health fairs to Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Bethel, as well as to about 30 smaller communities and 25 employee work sites.
The group reaches 10,000 to 15,000 people statewide per year and pulls in people from a variety of backgrounds and demographics, Executive Director Andrei Chakine said. Approximately 36 percent of attendees reported incomes over $75,000 per year and 60 percent had some form of health insurance, he said.
Beyond providing immediate access to care, the fairs promote long-term health lifestyle choices.
In surveys the organization completed for fall 2015 and spring 2016 health fairs, 89 percent of attendees said they gained a better understanding of how to make healthy lifestyle choices and 95 percent of attendees said they planned to follow up with doctors about any health issues discovered during the screenings, Chakine said.
“Our main goal is health promotion and giving people access to preventative screenings and tests, and giving them an opportunity to connect to community health and wellness resources,” Chakine said.
The event will take place in the Kenai Peninsula College River Campus Ward Building between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.