Health Fair

Pictured is a scene from last year's community health fair held in the Lee Medical Building on the University of South Dakota campus. The 2018 fair featured local vendors to provide health screenings and educational opportunities, including an inflatable heart, to the Vermillion community.

Tomorrow, area residents should visit the 12th annual Community Health Fair, “for the health of it!” according to Mary Merrigan, director of public relations at Sanford Vermillion.

The event, a joint effort between Sanford Vermillion and the University of South Dakota, will take place from 8 a.m. until noon at the Lee Medical Building, located at the corner of Dakota and Clark streets, on the USD campus. More than 15 free health screenings will be offered, including blood pressure, blood sugar, body fat, and body mass index analyses. Several reduced cost lab screenings will also be available alongside six Health Fair lab package deals.

“The health fair focuses on the importance of knowing your individual ‘numbers’ and understanding what they mean with respect to your overall health and wellness,” explains Merrigan. “There is so much to learn and experience in an amazing setting. A wide variety of options are available for everyone including many free and reduced cost health screenings, and educational and activity booths representing a broad spectrum of health related services and topics. This is an event appropriate for all ages and is very family friendly.”

The fair will feature a supervised children’s activity room, a youth health fair, and many interactive activities for kids, like walking through a giant colon to learn about colon health. Mary Auch, a registered dietitian at Sanford Vermillion, will offer a “Kookin’ with Kids” session at 10 a.m. Lion’s KIDSIGHT SD will have a booth providing a free vision screening for children ages 12 months and up. Of course, refreshments and heart healthy snacks will be available throughout the morning as you enjoy the fair.

Merrigan expects at least 350 people to attend tomorrow’s event, which was started in 2008 at the Sanford Vermillion Medical Center, but moved to the Lee Medical Building in 2009.

“We have been so grateful to have use of the Lee Medical Building for our venue since 2009 utilizing the atrium, first and second floors including many meeting rooms and classroom space,” says Merrigan. “With this new location, we were able to really expand this into a comprehensive health and wellness event. Attendance has grown consistently from year to year. … In that growth, we have loved seeing our audience expand to include all ages. It’s great to see USD students participating each year. We see local and area attendance, individuals, couples and entire families (multiple generations) come in and spend much of the morning exploring all aspects of the fair.”

This year, dozens of USD students in nine health care related programs will man 18 booths at the fair. In addition, many USD student groups assist during other aspects of the event, from set-up on Friday to tear-down on Saturday.

“I say this every year, but this event truly could not happen without the incredible partnership with USD Health Sciences and School of Medicine programs,” says Merrigan. “This is an excellent hands-on opportunity for the students and we consistently receive glowing feedback from faculty in the many disciplines represented.”

Merrigan adds: “Rounding out the rest of the health fair experience are many of our community partners, local and area health care service entities and, of course, immeasurable assistance from many departments and staff from our Sanford family,” Merrigan said.

One special screening that will be available Saturday for adults is a heart and vascular screening for $25 each. Call today to schedule a specific screening time (888-996-4673) because limited walk-in spots will be available on Saturday.

And while you are learning about how to be the healthiest you at the Community Health Fair on Saturday, please consider giving back to help others in need. The Community Blood Bank of Sioux Falls mobile unit will be at the fair from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to gather blood donations to help those in need.

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