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ASU to host health fair Saturday

ALBANY, Ga. -- Some of the region's future doctors will be working alongside community members and officials to help make the area a healthier place to live.

The Griffin-Jordan Medical Society of Southwest Georgia will be hosting a health fair this week on the campus of Albany State University for the purpose of preventing disease and educating the public on community health care resources.

"The overall goal is early detection and disease prevention," said Society Founder Dr. Linda Walden.

The fair will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the HPER Gymnasium. Screenings will be conducted for diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS. Vendors will also be on hand to provide information on resources for various issues ranging from mental illness to Alzheimer's disease.

"People are not aware of the resources out there to help," Walden said. "It's important people are aware of health problems in the community. We want them to come out and be educated.

"Everyone in the community should take the initiative to better the community. We've got to do more."

Public health officials will be conducting the screenings. University students connected to the society will also be on-hand to assist with screenings and set-up, as well as distribution of educational material to participants.

The American Red Cross will also be on hand to accept donations for the Haiti relief effort. Entertainment will be provided starting at noon.

"We want people to come out and educate themselves to improve health overall, improve lives overall and make a difference for the community," Walden said. "We plan to make this an annual event. We hope people will come out and make it a success."

The Griffin-Jordan Medical Society of Southwest Georgia was established in 2001. The purpose of the society is to bring together minority physician-hopefuls together in order to promote the science of medicine. The organization currently has 25 members within the ASU chapter.

"Many doctors in the community are mentors to these students," Walden said. "It's been an eye-opening experience for these kids. They see the other side of medicine.

"We feel it's never too early to teach them what a doctor does."

After the fair is over, students within the Albany State chapter will collect data from participants to compile statistics so that they can see what types of medical problems people present at the event are experiencing.

"Our goal is to bring not only the screenings to the community, but to introduce students to medicine," Society President Dr. Devell Young explained. "We are trying to keep them focused on education and commitment to the community.

"It will be fun for them and it can be something we can give back (to the community)."

The society meets once a month to conduct educational workshops. Since 2005, 85 percent of the student membership has made it into medical school.