Cedars-Sinai Provides Health Screenings at Telemundo Health Fair
Thousands of low-income Los Angeles residents received free health screenings, vaccinations and wellness education from physicians, nurses and health professionals from Cedars-Sinai, a partner with Telemundo 52 Los Angeles/KVEA for its 14th annual Health Fair, La Feria de la Salud.
The daylong event on March 11 brought together 18 community organizations, which offered free health screenings and education to residents at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In all, more than 7,000 health education and clinical screenings were provided.
Visitors who were unsure how to navigate the health system were assisted by healthcare professionals from Cedars-Sinai, which dispatched a team of nearly 500 staff and volunteers from more than 50 different departments to the annual event. This is the eighth year in a row Cedars-Sinai has participated in the health fair.
"We stepped up our services to offer even more to a community that depends on this event for vital health information that they don’t get anywhere else," said Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPNP, interim associate director of Community Health and Education.
Physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists and others made the most of their one-on-one time with participants. Each interaction was a chance to make a positive impact beyond the event by helping people understand their health risks, learn how to adopt a healthier lifestyle and find affordable care in their community.
"We saw a lot of people who didn’t know they have high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Some had never seen a doctor before. Many are undocumented," said Olena Svetlov, RN, CNS, a critical care nurse. "Many participants come to the health fair every year. This is their source of care."
Cedars-Sinai provided free screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose tests as well as breast cancer risk assessments and clinical exams. Cedars-Sinai COACH for Kids®—a program of the Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center—offered immunizations, flu shots, nutrition and dental education.
Individuals whose screenings showed elevated numbers were escorted to an area where advanced practice nurses supplied additional counseling, educational materials and referrals. Those who needed urgent attention were evaluated by an emergency triage team.
Among the new attractions this year at the Telemundo health fair was an exhibit called Cedars-Sinai Safety City—a colorful model city with crosswalks, stop signs and street lights where children could practice pedestrian safety. A new "Health Hub" area included stroke education, training in lifesaving bleeding-control techniques and chair exercise sessions.
A series of brief, early morning lectures by Cedars-Sinai physicians on prevention of various types of cancer were also added this year. In addition, a Cancer Awareness Education screening area was also new to this year’s event, and focused on breast, stomach, prostate, colorectal and head/neck cancers.
Cedars-Sinai helped participants find representatives of local community clinics, so they could continue their care after the event.
"This was important because, in addition to providing health screenings and education, we must connect underserved residents to a medical home, so they can get the care they need at little or no cost on an ongoing basis," said Jonathan Schreiber, director of Community Engagement.
German and Sandra Gomez were among those who came to the Telemundo health fair because they don’t have a medical home. They moved to Southern California from Indiana a few months ago. Both work at a fast food restaurant.
The couple was introduced to a representative from a community clinic not far from their apartment in Burbank. They were delighted to learn they will soon have appointments to see a doctor and a dentist at the clinic.
"We don’t have health insurance," said German Gomez, 51. "We’re fine now, but we haven’t been getting screenings. It’s important to check things out."