July 23, 2021

Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair Sees Low Turnout, Still Attracts Out-Of-State Visitors

Health fair attendees talked to many health care providers who engaged them in pop quizzes and prizes to raise health awareness about different health issues. - (Farah Yousry/WFYI)

Health fair attendees talked to many health care providers who engaged them in pop quizzes and prizes to raise health awareness about different health issues.

(Farah Yousry/WFYI)

The Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair witnessed modest turnout in its 35th annual event at the Indiana Convention Center last weekend.

Antoniette Holt, director for the Office of Minority Health at the Indiana Department of Health and the coordinator of the fair, said they expected fewer attendees this year because many people are still hesitant to be in large gatherings since the pandemic.

“We have anywhere between 4,500 and 5,000 people [attending] but that’s not definite as of yet,” she said. “Pre-pandemic it was 14,000 people, but we had an extra day.”

The health fair organizers are still tallying the exact numbers of visitors and the services they used during the event.

The fair offered about $2,000 worth of health services for free to attendees, including eye exams, breast cancer screenings, and HIV and Hepatitis C rapid tests.

Among the attendees were some out-of-state visitors who have been attending the fair regularly the past few years. Some said they detected health problems like pre-diabetes during past visits at the health fair and not in a doctor’s office. 

Freida Me and her cousin drove from Kentucky to take advantage of the free services. They had blood work, blood pressure, blood density, BMI analysis and eye tests done.

“Those tests are very expensive," Me said. "So to have the opportunity to have it done for free, why would you pass it up?"

The Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair is part of the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration that occurs in July of each year. The Black Expo has been taking place for the past 50 years.

“There should be more of these more often, especially for the African American community, if they could come to a place like this where it’s [mostly] anonymous, you know, and they're not having to make that doctor's appointment, then we might be a bit healthier as a race.”

Contact reporter Farah Yousry at fyousry@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.

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