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Tri-County Black Nurse Association Fair In Tradition Of Delma Woods, Aleta McLeod-Bryant
2/26/2014 3:31:57 PM

Dr. Stephen McLeod speaking to Health Fair attendees
By Bob Small

If Saturday’s turnout for the Delma Woods & Aleta McLeod-Bryant Health Fair was any indication of the need for health care resources in the community, then the fair was a smashing success.

More than 400 people funneled through the Arthur Christopher Gymnasium on Fishburne Street to take advantage of free health screenings, health education and give aways.

The event was sponsored by the Tri-County Black Nurses Association and was a continuation of the health fair Woods and McLeod-Bryant started over 20 years ago. The annual fair missed the last four years after the passing McLeod-Bryant. It was Black Nurse Association member Patricia Mack that revived the idea, citing the need of the community to be more informed about illness and how to manage and prevent them.

“Not everyone knows how to identify symptoms for possible trouble. "By bringing in health professionals from many different disciplines all under one roof makes it more convenient for people to get help,” she said.

Residents streamed through the gymnasium throughout the day, taking advantage of the numerous types of testing, which included everything from diabetes and hypertension testing to chiropractic medicine. A Hollings Cancer Institute Cancer truck parked in front of the gym offered information about various types of cancer and signs to look for.

Also included this year were clinicians to inform people about medications they take and how those medications react to other medicines they may be using. MUSC’s Department of Psychiatry also had doctors and students available to talk to residents about mental health issues.

On one side of the gym an instructor held Zuma classes to those interested in exercising and getting in shape.

While physical and mental health were key components of the fair, booths offering information on other things. One group offered information on how to obtaining free books for children. Another provided information on the various types of home and residential health care. Information on nutritional eating was also on hand.

T-Pot Caterers was one of the busiest booths of the day, offering brownies and carrot cake made without dairy products and eggs. Samples of kale chips, a substitute for potato chips was a big attraction. The catering company is owned by husband and wife team Sherman and Marilyn Pyatt also gave tips on healthy eating to those at the booth. “A lot of people think that healthy food does not tastes good but you can have both tasty and nutritional food at the same time,” Sherman Pyatt said.

Pyatt is the author of several books about African American culture and has a cook book on soul food with a healthy twist.

Dr. Ida Johnson Spruill, a member of the black nurses association and recent recipient of the Presidential Early Careers Awards for Scientists and Engineers awarded to 102 recipients nationally by President Barrack Obama said she thought the turnout was good.

“It shows the community is interested in good health and want to know how to stay healthy. By providing the health fair it gives people a place to come to to get answers regarding their health conditions where they might not otherwise go to a traditional medical facility,” she said.

Charles Turner has been to several of the previous health fairs hosted by the nurses association. He said he used to get tested for various ailments. “I used to come (here) back when the fair was held at the old gym and I missed it when they stopped,” he said.

This was the 24th year that the fair has been presented and if the crowd is any indication of the resident’s interest in health issues it will be around for a long time to come.

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