Region 8 hospital puts women's health first

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-The 15th Annual Women's Health Fair took place on Thursday in the Arkansas Methodist Medical Center Auditorium.

Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Shay Willis, says they do this to try and provide women with health information they need.

"It's just an opportunity for us to open up our facility to women," Willis said. "We had our Men's Health Fair in September, but now in October we open up our facility to women. Allow them to come in and have some basic lab tests drawn and then, today, we have more than thirty vendors set up and they're people from all different businesses. Mainly medical related, Chateau on the Ridge which is our assisted living facility is here and several other medical equipment companies, doctor's offices and all types. We just do this as a free service to encourage people to be preventive about their health versus reactive."

A number of different tests and screenings were available for women in attendance to take advantage of.

"Our lab professionals out here," Willis said. "Are drawing blood and will check for glucose and cholesterol and our participants will actually see those results in the mail within just a matter of days. Dr. Hardcastle, our Ophthalmologist, is giving free vision screenings. There is also a chiropractor here doing some chiropractic tests. So, there's a lot of different things going on and I believe there's something for everyone."

Melissa Gibbins of Maynard went through the health fair and says she got a lot of helpful information.

"We were visiting our aunt," Gibbins said. "I saw it on t.v. and thought I'd come out. I've never been to this before, but I think it's really a good idea because many people don't even go to the doctor anymore. And you can get lots of screenings, here. I don't believe you can get too many screenings."

Willis says the goal of the annual fair is to help women get ahead of certain medical problems.

"I think it's really important for women to be proactive," Willis said. "In most cases in the household, women are the decision maker. So, if they are the leader and they're being proactive I think their children are going to see the importance of taking care of your body. Of knowing the importance of different nutritional tidbits, diabetes education, there's just so many things you can learn at an activity like this. And if you learn something, here, that raises a red flag to potentially follow up with your physician and catch something before it's gotten too far along."

Proceeds from the lunch that took place from 11 to 1 also go back into a hospital program for women.

"All proceeds from the lunch," Willis said. "Go into Project Hope, which helps women under the age of 40 finance mammograms who might not be able to afford them, but need them."

811 women went through the Women's Health Fair that began at seven in the morning and lasted til four.

For more information about Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, log onto this website.

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