Just what the doctor ordered
Free town-wide health fair coming Aug. 28
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Aug 22, 2010 | 1580 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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, Aug., 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Secaucus will host its first town-wide health fair. The free fair, which organizers in the local Social Services Department hope will draw 500 people, will be held at Secaucus High School, at 11 Millridge Road.

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

“This is the first health fair that we’ve had in partnership with other 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 the beginning of the 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.

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. The Fountains at the Manor, a local nursing home, and Visiting Homemaker Service will be attending, as will the Hudson County Office on Aging and Mack Memorial Home.

There will be plenty of representation from the local holistic community as well, said Jakubowski.

And demos, too

“We’ll have quite a few demonstrations going on, which I think will be really fun,” she said.

April Daly, a local yoga-based breath/wellness/Tai Chi teacher, will offer a “breathing and dancercise demonstration,” Jakubowski said. “Meena Bhavsar will be doing yoga and acupressure. And we have Stephanie Sheridan from the Secaucus Rec Center coming who also teaches yoga.”

A Taekwondo group in town will also offer demonstrations of this martial art form from Korea.

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 in January. Earlier this year, in an effort to trim municipal spending, Mayor Michael Gonnelli 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 January.

Since January, 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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