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Community agencies turn out for Rowan County Health Fair

SALISBURY — Amid face painting, games and free food, local agencies took Friday to educate people about valuable community resources at the Rowan County Health Department’s fourth annual Health Fair.

“This is really a time where we can have fun with our clients and with Rowan County citizens at large,” said Nina Oliver, director of public health. “Then, we also at the same time let them know what resources are in the community.”

In total, 15 of community agencies participated in the fair, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Department. Each set up a booth with pamphlets and free swag for all passers-by.

Some stations were dedicated to physical health. Angela Hodges with the Rowan County Smile Center provided free dental screenings for children. Nursing staff from the clinic also gave health screenings for those of all ages, checking weight, height, blood pressure and A1C levels.

Representatives from Healthy Rowan and the Community Care Clinic were on site showcasing their programs. One is a community collaborative seeking to improve the health of Rowan County at large, the other a program offering free medical, dental and pharmacy services to the uninsured.

Other groups addressed the growing crisis of prescription drug misuse. The Center for Prevention Services and Youth Substance Use Prevention Rowan were providing medication lockboxes and drug deactivation powders: DisposeRx, Deterra and Pill Terminator.

“Kids misuse prescription medication,” said Neetu Verma, county coordinator with the Center for Prevention Services. “When you survey them, they will let you know, ‘We get them from our parents and grandparents.’ It’s because they keep their medications unlocked.”

For mental health crises and aid for those battling addiction, information was provided on the Center for Emotional Health and Capstone Recovery Center.

The Center for Emotional Health opened in Rowan County in January. It offers an outpatient psychiatry clinic for patients ages 4 through adult suffering anxiety, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse dependency and more.

Capstone Recovery Center offers a seven-month residential and nonresidential substance abuse recovery program.

There were yet more resource organizations meeting and greeting throughout the day, from those focused on education to those explaining the broad range of services under the umbrella of Public Health: Environmental Health and WIC, to name a few.

Agency representatives at the Health Fair expressed a willingness to work with clients as they navigate the sometimes confusing or misunderstood resources available to them.

“That’s what we’re here for,” said Trina Fonville of Senior Benefits Center.

Her program helps the elderly and those with disabilities navigate Medicare decisions.

“We help them navigate through their choices and see if they qualify for extra help,” Fonville said.

Oliver said the service organizations represented each helps Public Health achieve its most important goal.

“It’s important that we’re able to serve our citizens and our clients and provide them with whole-person health,” she said. “We don’t want them just going to the doctors and getting a prescription. Everyone needs whole-person health, mental, physical, emotional health.”

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