FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Health Circus-Navasota
April 20, 2004
Contact: John Holder (979) 458-0669
Office of Communications
The Texas A&M University System
Health Science Center
http://tamhsc.edu
Health Science Center Students Bringing Health Circus to Navasota
The circus is coming! Students at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center’s College of Medicine and School of Rural Public Health are holding a Health Circus in Navasota. The Health Circus will take place Saturday, April 24, 2004, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Navasota’s City Hall, 202 East Washington Street in Navasota.
Services available at the Health Circus, all provided free of charge, include immunizations (please bring past records if available); healthy child screenings; dental screenings; adult blood pressure checks; blood sugar checks; women’s health information; information on child development from Early Childhood Intervention; and information on crisis intervention for adolescents from the Grimes County STAR program.
In addition to health care services, fun, circus-themed activities such as face painting and balloon animals will be available for children attending the event.
Also available at Health Circus will be signup opportunities for TexCare and the CHIP program – two initiatives designed to provide more adults and children in Texas with health insurance. In addition, the Health Circus project is a good example of a program that provides alternatives to paid medical care for those who currently lack health insurance. (All of Grimes County, including Navasota, was designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area and as a Medically Underserved Area as of March 2002). This is particularly relevant given the partnership between the A&M Health Science Center and the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), which is promoting an Access to Health Care Initiative during the month of April. That initiative is aiming to raise awareness and action regarding the 43.6 million uninsured Americans and “put the issue at the top of state and national public policy agendas,” as the organization’s website states.
As of 2002, according to a study done by the Community Health Development Program at the A&M Health Science Center’s School of Rural Public Health, more than 24 percent of the population of the seven-county Brazos Valley area (including Grimes, Robertson, Leon, Madison, Washington, Burleson and Brazos counties) lacked health insurance. Texans who are uninsured total 25.7% of the state’s population.
While programs like the Access to Health Care Initiative are pursuing the goal of attaining health insurance coverage for every citizen, events such as Health Circus are bridging the insurance gap as long as the problem of uninsurance continues to exist.
The Health Circus in Navasota is being produced in partnership with a number of community leaders and businesses, including Dairy Queen, Domino’s Pizza, Wells Fargo Bank and Walmart.
The Health Circus is a grassroots program started in 2002 by Texas A&M University Health Science Center students. It is a non-profit traveling health fair that seeks to increase childhood immunization, healthy child screenings and child insurance enrollment rates and to encourage the use of the local health care and dental care systems.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.
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— Marketing & Communications