Health educators talk with participants at a community health event.

Community health events bring awareness to local residents

Texas A&M Healthy South Texas provides families with screenings, information and supplies for creating healthier lives
December 10, 2018

Texas A&M Healthy South Texas hosted two community health events recently to improve the well-being and health outcomes of local residents. These events provide education, health screenings and resources.

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities

The Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Expo took place at the Lake Jackson Civic Center in late October. This community event is held each year in various cities across South Texas. The expo reaches out specifically to young families to instill healthy lifestyle habits from the very beginning. This is the 15th expo Healthy South Texas has hosted since 2016. Since then, 5,596 individuals have attended these expos.

“Providing families access to local resources, services and information gives them tools for making better decisions. In turn, this improves family health and reduces risk factors leading to chronic disease,” said Elaine Fries, PhD, associate director of programs for Healthy South Texas.

Event goers also received information about Healthy South Texas programs. These programs focus on reducing the highest impact diseases—including diabetes, asthma and infectious diseases—and their consequences.

Also, major door prizes were given away at this event. Items include cribs, toddler beds, high chairs, car seats and more. The first 100 families through the door received free diapers bags filled with baby supplies.

Vital partnership

“Our goal in holding this event in Lake Jackson is to reach out to under-served residents of Brazoria County,” said Tanya McCoy, a registered nurse and health educator for the Healthy South Texas Diabetes Education Program. “We’re helping people build a better quality of life by providing health education and medication assistance, and connecting them with resources offered by community organizations.”

The gold level exhibitor, CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport, conducted blood pressure checks. McCoy said Healthy South Texas’ partnership with CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport is vital because it helps residents stay healthy and out of the hospital. “Along with allowing us to use office space,” she said, “the hospital’s case workers refer patients to us who need education on diabetes self-management. Also, some need help getting their prescribed medications.”

Por Tu Salud/For Your Health

In Corpus Christi, Healthy South Texas hosted a community event in early November. The event, called Por Tu Salud/For Your Health, took place at La Palmera Mall. Attendees received free flu shots, blood pressure checks and screenings for diabetes, cholesterol and kidney function.

“November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so we’re here to raise awareness about this disease,” said Juanita Garcia, RN, CDE, program manager for the Healthy South Texas Diabetes Education Program. “Many people who have diabetes don’t even know it. Getting a simple blood test can save your life.”

There was also a cooking demonstration. Dietitians with Healthy South Texas showed participants how to make healthier alternatives to popular holiday foods.

La Palmera Mall, KRIS 6 News, Telemundo and H-E-B collaborated with Healthy South Texas to put on the event.

“We believe these community events encourage families to set, meet and exceed healthy goals for themselves,” said Starr Flores, MBA, regional director of Healthy South Texas. “Healthy habits of the future start with adopting healthy behaviors today.”

— Leslie Cockrell

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