It is the medical equivalent of one-stop shopping; the health-care version of a bumper-to-bumper auto diagnosis and tune-up.
At the Second Annual Lions' Community Health Fair 2000, to be held 7 a.m. to noon, Oct. 14, nearly every part of your body from the hair follicles on your head to the mystery fungus on your toenails can be checked out by one test, screening or examination.
"Last year, we had 451 adults attend the health fair," said Robert E. Ware, executive director of the Mogollon Health Alliance, a co-sponsor of the event along with the Payson Lion's Club and Payson Regional Medical Center. "Besides getting a hands-on experience with 12 medical modalities, those adults were able to walk away with a great deal of literature provided by the many dozens of community nonprofit organizations. Overall, it was a roaring success."
The goal for the 2000 fair, Ware said, is to attract 600 area residents who this year will be accommodated at Payson High School's old gymnasium, along with "more health providers and nonprofit health organizations."
The Payson Lion's Club started promoting a local health fair when they heard of the great success the Prescott Lion's Club has been having with the idea for about 18 years, according to George Spears, a Payson Lion's Club member, past president and self-described "mop-up guy."
"We went over to talk to them about how they did it, and they said, 'Man, it's a piece of cake.' So we said, 'Hot dog, we'll do it,'" Spears said.
"When we got back, the first thing we discovered was that, if you're going to do it right, it takes a lot more work than the Prescott Lions led us to believe. We got the Mogollon Health Alliance and the Payson Regional Medical center involved, and they wanted to do a first-class job, too. So now, compared to Prescott's, our health fair is like a Cadillac to their Model A."
For one thing, Spears said, the Prescott version is held in a school, and the people go from room to room, whereas the Payson Lion's Club provides tented cubicles for all of the vendors, presenters and medicos. "Last year, we held it at the middle school, but this year it's bigger and better at the high school gym," he said.
Another improvement is that attendees will be able to talk to doctors and medical personnel about any confusion they may have regarding the new information they've gathered.
"And we have something else Prescott doesn't: Dozens of tables that will be manned by people from Alcoholics Anonymous and other organizations and nonprofessional vendors who come in, talk to people and distribute their literature," Spears said. "That's in addition to all the medical tests and screenings that will be available."
The most popular screenings at last year's event, Spears said, were those for bone density and blood and that the blood tests for CMP+, cholesterol, glucose and prostate cancer (at a cost of $10 for women and $14 for men) are bound to be even more sought-after at the new health fair.
"Our flier said that you have to fast for 12 hours before the blood tests, but that's not true," he said. "The technology has changed so that, now, you don't have to fast. You can just tell the person running the test when you last ate, and he or she can make adjustments on the lab work. We didn't know that when we made the flier."
Although the average attendee at last year's health fair was in the $25,000-and-up income bracket, Spears said that his organization is now trying to target needier families.
"You figure guys working for minimum wage here don't go to the doctor, and really need to be checked out. Before, we didn't get as many of those people as we'd hoped for, so we're doing our best to draw them in this year. They are the ones who need to attend this health fair the most."
Payson Lions' Health Fair 2000
Sponsored by the Payson Lions Club, Mogollon Health Alliance and Payson Regional Medical Center.
Saturday, October 14, 7 a.m. to noon, at the Payson High School "old" gymnasium, 510 W. Wade.
Open to all area residents 18 years and older.
Free Hearing tests, vision screening, blood pressure screening, breast exam screening, dental screening, bone density screening, podiatry/diabetes screening, spinal exam, skin cancer/dermatology screening, nutrition/weight screen.
Learn about Advance directives, organ donation, Vial of Life, community resources, holistic healing, rehabilitation services, massage therapy, medical providers and services.
Blood tests: CMP+, cholesterol, glucose, PSA (men only). Women $10, men $14. Does not require fasting.
"Free Medication Brown Bag": Bring in your medications and visit with a pharmacist to learn about drug interactions. Bring in expired medications for proper disposal.
Donate your old eyeglasses and hearing aids.
Flu shots for $5 while supplies last.
Donate nonperishable food to the Food Bank.
To register, call 474-7621 through Thursday. Registration beyond that day can only be made at the event.