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Hundreds turn out for health fair at DCC

October 20, 2012

Danville Register & Bee

By: John Crane

Melissa Daniel is hoping for a discount on her health insurance premium.

That’s why she got her blood checked Friday and came to the Community Health Fair at Danville Community College on Saturday to pick up the results.

Medically desirable levels of cholesterol, blood glucose and other factors – including whether she smokes -  mean she pays less for insurance she gets through her employer, American National Bank.

“Cholesterol was good, blood glucose was good and I don’t smoke,” said Daniel, who lives in Danville.

More than 300 people pre-registered for the health fair at DCC’s Foundation Hall and hundreds more showed up to get free screenings for blood pressure, circulation and cholesterol. Doctors, nurses, dentists and volunteers also offered breast cancer screenings, lung function checks, dental and eye check-ups, body-mass index measurements and shots for influenza, diptheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.

“This is for anyone who wants to seek services,” said Dr. Bhushan Pandya, a Danville gastroentologist who helped organize the event.  “This is to bring their individual health issues to their attention.”

It was the fourth annual health fair organized by the Danville Pittsylvania Academy of Medicine Alliance, with help from several other organizations including the Pittsylvania/Danville Health District, Danville Regional Medical Center, PATHS, Danville Community College’s School of Nursing and other entities.

“Everbody’s so dedicated,” Pandya said. “Each volunteer is really passionate about providing services.”

Pandya’s wife, Rashmi, helped start the event in 2009 out of concern for the area’s uninsured. However, the annual health fair is free and open to everyone, she said.

“We felt like we were really in need of this kind of service,” Rashmi Pandya said.  “There are a lot of uninsured people.”

The fair also showcases DCC’s Foundation Hall and provides experience for the school’s nursing students..

“It gives them an opportunity to practice the services they’ve learned,” said DCC nursing instructor Tamra Riddle, adding that it exposes the students to those who lack access to health care.

About 75 nursing students from DCC volunteered at the event, Riddle said.

For Chatham residents Curtis and Patty Walker, it was a chance to get free flu shots.

“My friend told me to come here,” Patty Walker said. The couple said the service helped them out a lot.

As for Daniel, she’s ready to begin saving money on her health insurance.

“I had all ‘yesses’ (good readings),” Daniel said. “I need to apply for a discount.”