Rev. Gladys Turner is an Assistant Minister at St. John’s A.M.E. church. For the last eleven years, Rev. Turner has been putting together an annual health fair designed to get members of the South Miami community focused on their personal health issues.
Rev. Turner, a retired nurse practitioner, has been reaching out to the community in this way long before she initiated it at St. John’s church.
“I have been doing the same type of health fair since 1979. And the mission is the same, to get information out about best practices and people’s health,” said Rev. Campbell.
Over the years, the word has been getting out about the need for exercise, good nutrition and as Rev. Turner says, “knowing your numbers.” It is good practice to know the numbers associated with your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels and learning if those numbers fall within healthy ranges for your age group.
Health fair attendees had the opportunity to have their glucose and cholesterol levels tested and to receive some onsite counseling from Florida Heart Research. According to one of the non-profit’s representatives Carrie Insignares, it is part of the organization’s mission to provide testing in the community.
“We are out there every weekend,” she said.
Community Health of South Florida Incorporated (CHI) had a large presence at the event. CHI is a non-profit health care organization that provides affordable primary and behavioral health care services to traditionally under-served South Florida residents. They operate 10 comprehensive care centers. The South Miami Health Center is located at 6350 Sunset Drive.
“We offer everything from dental care to maternity care. We are a onestop shop,” said CHI testing counselor, Odeta Jean-Joseph. Consuelo Hodge of CHI discussed the Affordable Care Act, stating that is was “an easy process.” The next date for open enrollment begins November 15. Those interested are encouraged to go to Healthcare.com or to contact CHI.
Proper nutrition is essential to a healthy life. Suevetta Green, a dietician with the Miami-Dade Health Department was on hand to discuss nutrition and disease prevention. She spoke of the need for women to consider breast-feeding their infants as a way to ensure a lifetime of good health and proper brain development.
“We are beginning to understand that the absence of the antibodies infants receive from breast milk may be linked to food allergies in children,” said Ms. Green.
Merline Barton, president and cofounder of the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative, Inc. (TGHI) spoke about the group’s community, elderly and youth services. TGHI coordinates the resident and community outreach for the Senior Center located in South Miami.
“We bring a little light into the lives of those living away from their families,” said Ms. Barton.
In addition to the health services, the event featured health insurance companies and valuable information about healthcare fraud from Florida Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP).
For more information about next year’s health fair, contact Dr. Turner at St. John’s church, 305-665-1191. The church is located at 6461 SW 59th Place, South Miami.