— About the Health Fair —
Alexandria Cares for the Uninsured is proud to be a founder and ongoing supporter of the annual Free Health Fair for Alexandria’s Uninsured. The very first Free Health Fair took place in November 2015 at the Francis Hammond Middle School on the West End of the City of Alexandria. And the 2018 Health Fair was conducted at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center in on the East End of the City.
It is estimated that more than 850 low-income residents (including about 100 children) attended one of the first four Health Fairs. At each Fair, attendees were offered a comprehensive range of free diagnostic services, e.g., blood pressure monitoring, vision and hearing tests, glucose and cholesterol tests, HIV and mental health screens, dental education and exams, to help them better understand their individual health status. As importantly, for those few who presented with severe symptoms or whose test(s) indicated the possibility of more serious illness or conditions, follow up exams with Neighborhood Health – the community health center serving the health needs of the poor and uninsured in Alexandria for more than twenty years – were frequently arranged and at a very nominal cost, if any, to the individual. (Fundraising by Alexandria Cares for the Uninsured helped to defray the costs of follow up services for several who attended the Fair.)
All of the Fairs were staffed by volunteers in the community (including both health professionals and non-health professionals). Each Fair also brought together many community-based organizations who were on hand to inform attendees about the availability of other health and social service benefits for which they may be eligible (e.g. Obamacare, food stamps, housing assistance, etc.) and to help them enroll if they need assistance.
Below are just a few examples of the many comments that have been offered about the Free Health Fair for the Uninsured.
“Benediciones a todo generosas que aludan a ser realidad este programa. La Comunidad hispana agradecida.” (English Translation: “Thanks and blessings to all the generous people who helped to make this program a reality. The Hispanic community is grateful.”)
-Anonymous female Spanish-speaking attendee
“I congratulate the organizers and volunteers who made this Community Health Fair a great success. The intake questionnaires and exit interviews with attendees make clear that there is a tragic level of unmet health care needs in our community. We need to redouble our efforts to address this crisis, preferably by expanding Medicaid coverage to very low-income uninsured Alexandrians.”
-Alexandria City Councilman Tim Lovain
“Alexandria is a caring and united community, and the success of this [Health Fair] event will demonstrate our commitment and support for Alexandria’s most vulnerable residents deserving our concern, love, and respect for their health and well-being.”
-William D. Euille, former Mayor, City of Alexandria
"All of us can be proud that Alexandria is a compassionate city. We are a city that is concerned about our most vulnerable. Having one's health is crucial and ....the Health Fair [is] a significant part of that commitment."
-Allison Silberberg, Mayor, City of Alexandria