Hold a Health Fair
If you are a health educator, you probably already know that getting needy patients to come to a hospital or doctor’s office, even for free health screenings, is a major challenge. A health fair is a great way to take health education to your audience.
Before You Start
Before you jump into health fair planning, you will need to find a location for the event. Think about your audience. An outdoor/indoor event will help you attract the attention of people passing by, but even a library will work in a community that walks by the building on a regular basis. Community centers, playgrounds, fire stations and veteran association halls are other possibilities.
Getting Vendors and Health Professionals Together
Your next step is to find professionals to come to the health fair. Be sure to balance healthy vendors with fun ones. Getting free screenings is an amazing opportunity, but getting a free mini massage is what the health fair participants will tell their friends about. A few educational services you may want to include are:
- Blood pressure screenings
- Cholesterol screenings
- Bone density tests
- Body fat evaluations
- Diet and nutrition guides
- Low income medical assistance program information
- Prescription assistance information
- Alternative health information
- Lead paint information and testing kits
- Glucose screenings
- Social services information on elder care, etc.
- Family planning information
- Smoking cessation help
Before you make final plans to include vendors that offer screenings and testing in your health fair, be sure that you won’t run into any legal problems. You may need to have disclaimers signed for some tests, while others require you to wait several hours for results.
Fun services and activities to have in your health fair include:
- Children’s crafts
- Free entertainment from a children’s performer or local bands.
- Catered healthy snacks. (This doesn’t have to be fancy. Fruit cups and wraps are fine.)
- Raffles for nice items donated by local vendors, such as grocery store gift cards.
Making Sure People Attend the Health Fair
To come to an event, people have to know about it. To publicize the health fair, distribute fliers to area shops, dry cleaners and community centers. Be sure they emphasize that the event is free and highlight all of the fun activities you are offering. Ask local radio stations and newspapers to promote the event. Local cable companies may also be able to promote the event for you. Don’t forget to get local children excited about coming. If your area’s school system allows it, you may be able to place an announcement in the school bulletin. Pushing the health fair during the morning announcements can really work well, too.
Make the Health Fair an Annual Event
After the first health fair, you may be disappointed by the number of attendees, but you shouldn’t be. Typically, a health fair is something that grows more successful in succeeding years. People grow to trust the event and start to look forward to the free activities and screenings.