INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers living in Marion County and beyond are encouraged to take control of their health this week.
It’s a part of the 37th annual Indiana Black & Minority Health Fair — which begins Thursday and runs until Sunday.
The theme of this year’s health fair is Healthful Living, which emphasizes the event’s focus on prevention.
For over three decades, the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has provided access to healthcare to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it.
Pre-pandemic, the fair saw around 14,000 attendees a year.
The numbers dipped in 2020, but IDOH anticipates a larger turn out this year.
Right now, some families in Central Indiana have to decide whether to put food on the table or pay for life-saving medication.
Director of the Office of Minority Health Antoniette Holt says that’s especially true for Hoosiers of color.
“Disparities are higher among racial and ethnic minorities," Holt said. “People of color and populations are experiencing higher death rates, higher incidents of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.”
That’s why for the past 37 years the Indiana Department of Health has hosted its annual Black and Minority Health Fair.
IDOH will offer nearly $4,000 worth of free heath screenings at the Indiana Convention Center this week.
Folks can get back-to-school immunizations, screenings and education for cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, HIV, hepatitis C, hearing and more.
The health fair will also focus on education.
“Social security can be here and answer questions about what do I do in my next stage of life. You can have different services as far as insurance if you’re not covered. Like for the panel with palliative care — what do I do with my next stage of life where you have a loved one or a caregiver," Holt said.
Pastor David Greene Sr. with Purpose of Life Ministries says it’s important that black and other minority groups are knowledgeable about what they’re at risk for, so they can make better informed choices.
“A lot of it is access to quality healthcare. We’re also impacted in terms of income. When you have less income, you don’t have insurance and because of the lack of insurance you can’t necessarily take advantage of those types of services and the co-pays that come with it, etc," Greene said.
Pastor Greene will speak at the opening ceremony Thursday.
During his speech, he’ll be challenging the stigma around mental health in the faith-based and black communities.
He says these communities often feel shame or fear when discussing mental health and he encourages them to take action for their well-being.
“It’s time to take care of yourself. I think that in anything, it starts with you taking care of you. If you don’t take care of you then you won’t be able to take care of others."
IDOH is offering free transportation on Sunday from the Global Village Welcome Center, 4233 Lafayette Road.
Depart Global Village at 1 and 3 p.m. and return from Indiana Convention Center at approximately 3:15 and 5 p.m.