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Back-to-school health fair

Four-year-old Eryn Mortlooks up as Porsche Sturdivant registers her height during Back-to-School Health Fair held Genesis Center Gary Wednesday Aug.

Four-year-old Eryn Morton looks up as Porsche Sturdivant registers her height during the Back-to-School Health Fair held at the Genesis Center in Gary Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 23, 2012 6:06AM



Parents and children lined up inside the Genesis Convention Center Aug. 8 to take advantage of free physicals, immunizations and other health screenings at the 10th annual Covering Kids and Families Back-to-School Health Fair.

The fair was hosted by Community Health Net and Covering Kids and Families of Indiana and sponsored by MDWise, Methodist Hospitals, Anthem, the Gary Department of Health and Human Services, Kool Smiles, Managed Health Services and others.

Community Health Net program coordinator Lisa Adediran said this year’s theme, Continuing Health and School Education, or C.H.A.S.E., allowed them to encourage families to bring their children to the health fair to prepare them for the 2012-13 school year.

“We prepared for 1,000 children in grades K-12 to come and get free dental screening, eye exams, physical and sports physicals, immunizations and more. We are talking about nearly $600 worth of screenings and exams given to the children at no cost. At the end of the screenings the children received school supplies loaded in a brand new backpack,” Adediran said.

She added that families registered their children prior to the free services and completed a rapid application medical program to screen them for additional services.

Methodist Hospitals offered a scoliosis screening at the health fair. Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, is the most common genetic spine condition predominantly found in females.

Kristy Darnell, a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner at the Spine Care Center, said this was the first time they’ve offered the test at the health fair.

“Due to cutbacks a lot of school nurses do not perform the tests,” Darnell said.

She added that most of the screenings done at the fair turned out fine with a minimal number of children showing something that parents need to watch carefully.

Pastor Joshua Harrell Reese of the House of True Worship in Gary brought his five children, Joshua Jr., 10, Chris, 16, Tyler, 12, Anaiyah, 10, and Mekai’el, 8, to the fair.

“When you have opportunities like this in the community you take advantage of it. Any type of information that will benefit children and families is great,” he said.



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