Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 11, 2014

Health fair attracts audience

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Two local organizations combined their expertise this past weekend to advance healthy lifestyles and provide information on potential health-related careers.

The Jefferson County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons (NAACP) and Good Samaritan Regional Health Center partnered for a health and career fair held at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building.

“It’s to bring awareness to people in the community about the job opportunities available in health care, more than just a doctor and a nurse. There are lab techs, radiology techs and

radiologists, anesthesia, and so forth. A lot of people don’t understand that it takes all of those things to make a patient’s visit successful,” said Sandi Williams, the health care chair for the NAACP.

“‘We also have Rend Lake College here to pass out information to those that are interested in health care to let them know if you want to have an education in this field, this is what it takes to do it,” she added.

Williams said the event targeted young people in the community.

“It is very important (to target that audience) because a lot of times in our community they feel like they are not a part of. So this is to let them know that, yes, you are a part and we want to make you aware these positions are available.”

Tom Blythe, vice president of human resources at Good Sam, said the format allows valuable information to be given to community members.

“It’s an opportunity to promote health and wellness for the community. We give them information on ways to live healthy. We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the NAACP going back 25 plus years. We feel like they were a good partner is getting the message out to an important part of the community,” he said.

About 100 people had registered midway through the event Saturday.

A secondary goal of the event is to promote opportunities for careers and education in health care.

“Health care will continue to be a major employer going forward. This is a good opportunity for us to bring people in and talk to people who everyday do the job and get a real-world lesson and hear from the professionals as to what they do everyday,” Blythe added.

Discounted blood work vouchers for $30, along with free screenings to check blood pressure, diabetes, etc., were also provided.