By LAUREN PAJAKOWSKI
The First Annual Community Health Day is coming to IU South Bend on April 13. Hosted by the dental hygiene program and the school of nursing, this free community event will offer numerous services to the public while giving dental hygiene and nursing students a chance to practice their skills.
“We’ve always done community outreach,” said Dental Education Program Director Kristyn Quimby. “But this is the first time we’ve really wanted to do something here, do something unique and do something big like this. This is also one of the first times nursing and dental have paired together.”
The dental hygiene program will offer a wide variety of dental services including exams, x-rays and cancer screenings. The school of nursing will offer blood pressure screenings and BMI and weight assessments.
“Honestly one of the best thing about it is it’s open to the public and we’re providing free services that are worth quite a bit of money and were going to help save patients in need this expense,” Quimby said.
“Another great part about what we’re going to do on the dental side is those patients are going to leave with their x-rays. We’ll have a copy to keep here but we’re going to give them a copy so if we do find cavities by the dentists that are volunteering, they can take those x-rays to a referral dentist for further treatment. We will have referral packets of dentists in the area who are aware of what we’re doing and willing to accept patients.”
There will also be a spit-drive for the bone-marrow registry, heath education by the St. Joseph County Health Department and an opportunity to donate blood.
“I just want to stress how important oral health is,” said Quimby. “The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and there are so many things we can detect in the mouth that affect everything else and sometimes we’re the first line of defense. That’s where we know our community has been really hard hit, with the loss of dental insurance with the loss of jobs. Dentistry is expensive, so if we can just take a little bit of the burden by doing the x-rays, the diagnosis, and the referrals at least patients can then prioritize their dental needs.”
The health fair will take place on April 13 from 8 a.m. to3 p.m. at Riverside Hall on Northside Blvd. The event is open to all ages. There will also be activities for children, promotional give-aways and information from community partners.
Tents will be set up in Riverside Hall parking lot for patients to check in upon arrival. Patients are encouraged to park in the adjacent North Side Hall parking lot.