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Wake Forest Medical Students to Sponsor Free Health Fair at Marketplace Mall

WINSTON-SALEM – Students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine are planning a much-enlarged “Share the Health” fair in January designed to encourage the medically underserved to become active participants in their own health care.

The eighth annual health fair will be held on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Marketplace Mall, 2101 Peters Creek Parkway. Admission is free.

Members of Wake Forest University athletic teams will be on hand to sign autographs, and speakers from the medical school faculty will be talking about such topics as pediatric obesity, nutrition, exercise and diabetes.

Last year, a record 625 people participated in the fair; this year co-chairs Blair Simpson and Lindsay Chaney are hoping for more than 1,000 participants. They’ve arranged for a number of additional screenings – for bone density, lung function (spirometry), HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and hepatitis B.

As in past years, the fair will feature free testing of cholesterol levels so participants can know their own cholesterol level and decide whether they need to take action. The fair will also include screenings for glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and perhaps blindness, high blood pressure, an often hidden symptom that can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure, and elevated blood sugars, which could indicate diabetes. Most of these should be tested at least annually.

In addition, visitors to the fair will get a chance to learn their body mass index (BMI), which is computed from weight and height. A BMI over 25 indicates a person is overweight; over 30 indicates obesity.

Simpson and Chaney have also added car safety seat demonstrations, a separate section for kids focusing on obesity and poor growth, and a section devoted to diabetes education. Bike and helmet safety demonstrations also will be available, as well as photo IDs and fingerprinting of children.

Health care professionals from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, the community and area organizations will address issues pertaining to child and adult health care as well as offer free health and safety information. Tables will provide information on sickle cell disease, bone marrow transplants, women’s health, adult health, pediatrics, exercise, nutrition and childhood obesity.

Volunteers for the “Share the Health” include local physicians affiliated with Wake Forest University and students from the Medical School’s physician and physician assistant programs. Spanish translation will be provided by Centro Clinico, Downtown Health Plaza, and Wake Forest undergraduate and medical students.

Funding for the fair is raised by the medical students and through support from several student organizations. Additional funding is from the Northwest Area Health Education Center, the American Medical Association, and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

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Media contacts: Robert Conn, rconn@wfubmc.edu, Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, or Shannon Koontz , shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, at (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. U.S. News & World Report ranks Wake Forest University School of Medicine 18th in family medicine, 20th in geriatrics, 25th in primary care and 41st in research among the nation's medical schools. It ranks 35th in research funding by the National Institutes of Health. Almost 150 members of the medical school faculty are listed in Best Doctors in America.

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