July 12, 2022

The Indiana Black Health Fair will offer thousands of dollars in free health services

Health fair attendees in 2021 at a booth that was raising awareness about HIV testing and prevention and giving away prizes such as bags, water bottles and condoms.  - Farah Yousry/WFYI

Health fair attendees in 2021 at a booth that was raising awareness about HIV testing and prevention and giving away prizes such as bags, water bottles and condoms.

Farah Yousry/WFYI

The 2022 Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair will run from Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17, at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

The 36th annual fair will offer up to $2,500 worth of free health screenings and educational sessions, said Antoinette Holt, director for the office of minority health at the Indiana Department of Health.

The health fair takes place at the same time that the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebrations will be happening. Holt said she hopes families attending the festivities will come to the fair to take advantage of the plethora of health services.

“I'm excited that we're going to have, hopefully, more people than we had the last time,” Holt said.

Last year, the health fair saw lower turnout than usual because of pandemic precautions, with about 5,000 visitors compared to more than 14,000 visitors pre-pandemic. Holt said organizers expect turnout will be higher this  year. The fair is also expected to attract out-of-state visitors, like previous years.

The health fair will provide services like COVID-19 vaccination, HIV and hepatitis C testing, dental screening, breast exams, mental health education, foot and ankle health services, and blood donation, as well as educational panels and live entertainment.

The slogan of this year’s fair is “Commit To Be Fit!” Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said people may have missed routine check-ups and other preventative measures like childhood immunizations during the pandemic.

“I think people have a renewed outlook on the importance of their health,” Box said. “And so what we want to do is capitalize on that and show them, educate them about how they can prioritize their health by doing a few simple things, like getting a checkup on a yearly basis, like knowing their numbers.”

Visitors can also get their blood sugar, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and BMI measured at the health fair.

Families with children will be able to get free school sports physicals and required back-to-school immunizations. Indiana residents can also obtain a birth certificate for $10.

In addition to the health services, the fair will also offer a series of educational panels, Box said.

“Throughout COVID, a lot of people became caretakers for family members and other people. And we are planning a lot of different panels around caretaking and Alzheimer's for our elderly population,” Box said. “Mental health has become a huge issue and really exacerbated by the pandemic. So lots of great informational panel panels for people to attend.”

The health fair will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday July 14; 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 16; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 17.

There is no pre-registration needed to attend the fair or receive free health services. A valid ID is required for families that need childhood immunizations and to obtain a birth certificate.

More information about the fair is available on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.

For people who are considering donating blood at the event, the following links can be used to schedule an appointment Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This story comes from a reporting collaboration that includes the Indianapolis Recorder and Side Effects Public Media — a public health news initiative based at WFYI. Contact Farah at fyousry@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.

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