Here’s to your health
Free town-wide fair coming May 14
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
May 01, 2011 | 1661 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
April Daly (foreground), a local yoga-based breath/wellness teacher, has been invited to reprise the successful Tai Chi demonstration she offered last year.
April Daly (foreground), a local yoga-based breath/wellness teacher, has been invited to reprise the successful Tai Chi demonstration she offered last year.
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Need to have that blood pressure checked? Been putting off having an eye exam? Worried those cholesterol levels aren’t where they should be?

Well, then you’re in luck. For one day, you don’t have to go to the doctor – the doctor will come to you.

On Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Secaucus will host its second annual town-wide health fair. Organizers in the local Senior and Community Services Department hope the free event will attract hundreds of residents. Last year at least 500 people attend the town’s inaugural health fair.

Unlike last year’s event, which took place at Secaucus High School, this year the health fair will be held at the Secaucus Recreation Center, at 1200 Koelle Blvd.

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“There have been health fairs in the senior buildings, but this one is going to be rather large. It’s open to all town residents.” – Patt Jakubowski

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Like most health fairs, the purpose of the Secaucus Health Fair is to increase health awareness among residents, and to promote early detection of potentially serious medical problems.

For the event, the second the town has organized, fair organizer Patt Jakubowski has pulled together a broad and eclectic mix of medical service providers, holistic practitioners, and elder care professionals to round out the day’s schedule.

“We wanted to let people know what is available in the area, what services are available, what programs are available,” she said.

“Just like last year, the fair will be done partnership with organizations and businesses,” Jakubowski said. “There have been health fairs in the senior buildings, but this one is going to be rather large. It’s open to all town residents.”

The North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC), a local public health agency that Secaucus has been working with closely since early 2010 year, will be on hand, Jakubowski said. They will to offer free blood, diabetes, and cholesterol screenings. Similar free screenings will also be offered by Riverside Medical Clinic. And Community Blood Services will also participate in the fair.

But, Jakubowski emphasized, “We have some new vendors this year, so it won’t be a repeat of everything we had last year.”

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation will be on hand to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Organizations that assist families dealing with Alzheimer's will attend, as will Safety Bath, a company that retrofits bathrooms to accommodate people with limited mobility. A company that makes tracking devices for children and Alzheimer's patients have also agreed to participate in the fair, said Jakubowski, as have mental health and suicide prevention therapists from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Traumatic Loss Coalition.

However, several popular vendors who attended the first fair last year will be on hand again on May 14. Comfort Keepers, Kipnis Physical Therapy, the Hudson Count Office on Aging, and Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center will be at the fair to provide information to resident regarding their services.

Taking a very broad definition of “health,” Jakubowski also convinced other businesses and facilities to participate that might not ordinarily be included in traditional health fairs. There will be plenty of representation from the local holistic community as well, said Jakubowski.

“We’ll have quite a few demonstrations going on, which I think will be really fun,” she said. “Meena Bhavsar will be doing yoga and acupressure. And we have Stephanie Sheridan from the Secaucus Rec Center coming who also teaches yoga.”

April Daly, a local yoga-based breath/wellness teacher, has been invited to reprise the successful Tai Chi demonstration she offered last year.

“We got a tremendous response from the classes and demonstrations last year,” said Jakubowski. “They were very popular.”

Part of ongoing work with county agency

The health fair is part of the town’s increasing work with NHCAC, which Secaucus began working with last year. In an effort to trim municipal spending, Mayor Michael Gonnelli last year announced plans to reduce the town’s health screening contract with Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center and instead use the services of NHCAC.

For years, Secaucus paid $68,000 to $70,000 each year to the hospital to offer health screenings to residents who have limited access to health care. These screenings include tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other health concerns. At the same time, the town also contributed $10,000 annually to NHCAC, a publicly funded social service organization that offers the same health screenings to residents of North Bergen, Union City, West New York, and most of Hudson County’s towns.

Such services were theoretically available to residents of Secaucus as well, but Secaucus didn’t take advantage of the agency’s services until recently.

Since 2010, NHCAC has offered a broad array of services to residents of the town. These services have included medical screenings, dental care, assistance with landlord-tenant disputes, and elder care needs.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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