Health fair free to public

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2011

FERRIDAY — Through a grant from the National Library of Medicine, the Alcorn Family Clinic will sponsor a free health fair next week at both branches of the Concordia Parish library in Ferriday in Vidalia.

From 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in Vidalia and 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday in Ferriday, staff members from the clinic, along with Alcorn nursing students will be at the libraries to demonstrate how to use medical databases.

Alcorn Family Clinic nurse practitioner Robin Christian said the health fairs at the library are the first of many the clinic plans to have throughout the year.

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“Through the grant, we have partnered with eight local groups in the Miss-Lou, including many area libraries, senior centers and our main campus on Lorman,” she said. “The grant money is to help increase people’s knowledge of online health information.”

Christian said the databases her staff will teach residents to use will include Medline Plus, a site similar to Web M.D., and NIH Senior Help, a site that focuses more on medical problems in the elderly.

“Medline is a completely non-biased, commercial free site that provides information on medication and diseases,” she said. “We are teaching residents that they can go to the libraries, or other public places and get this kind of information.”

Christian said the database will provide information on the actual stages and processes of diseases, medication and even has a video library on certain procedures so residents can know what to expect.

Concordia Parish Library Director Amanda Taylor said every computer at the libraries will contain the medical databases after Christian and her staff give the presentations on how to use them.

“The public always has questions about medication and diagnoses,” she said.

“And all parish libraries have free access terminals for residents to use. It’s a perfect combination.”

Taylor said the group from Alcorn will also be there to check total cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, height, weight and BMI, and all those that attend will receive a free T-shirt.

Christian said the clinic is working on hosting more health fairs throughout the Miss-Lou, and she is also working on another grant sponsored program to help area residents out.

“Our clinic has a mobile unit, and eventually we are going to be going to churches with nurse practitioners to give free checks like we are at the fairs,” she said. “It will also incorporate the use of the databases.”

Christian said she hopes to have a good turnout to the event and she wants to thank the Concordia Parish Library for partnering with her program.

“The libraries have been amazing,” she said. “They have been on the ball with this since it started, and they are really helping us spread some valuable information.”