Published: 24 June, 2020 | Volume 4 - Issue 1 | Pages: 060-062
Introduction: Rural populations often experience disparities in health and access to and quality of healthcare. Such disparities may differ among subpopulations. Community outreach events provide an opportunity for rural residents to receive health services and education at reduced or no cost. This project builds on our previous experience with community health fairs by providing health events that target specific underserved subpopulations (rural youth, Latinas, and men).
Methods: Our first event provided free sports physicals to area students. The second provided free health screenings to men during an annual agricultural event (Bean Day). The third was a cardiovascular health event for Latinas that featured free or reduced cost health screenings and other health-related and culturally appropriate activities.
Results: Thirty-five students received sports physicals, enabling them to participate in sports. Twenty-two Bean Day participants, primarily men, received health screenings; four were hypertensive, three were overweight, and 12 were obese. Over 100 women attended Latina Red Dress and received health services and education. For many in these subpopulations, events such as this provide the only healthcare they receive. During all three events, participants received education regarding any health issues of concern and referrals to local health clinics when appropriate (e.g. hypertension, high glucose levels).
Conclusion: Community health events such as these provide culturally appropriate and economical means to deliver health services and education, enabling participants to identify and address any health concerns. Targeting events for underserved subpopulations helped engage them in their healthcare. These findings support the need for effective education and intervention efforts to address physical and mental health concerns in this rural area. This was our first contact with these particular populations whom we know need intervention to receive health care. Moving forward through 2020 and beyond we will have future health fairs in the same groups in order to assess if the health fairs are indeed impacting health of these children, men and minority women.
Rural; Community health fairs; Hypertension; Obesity; Rural health; Mental health