‘Know Your Number’ theme of annual health fair

Booths and displays lined the first and second floors of the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building Saturday as part of the annual Community Health and Wellness Fair. The event was hosted by Sanford Vermillion Medical Center, which partnered with USD SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) and students in health programs to provide screenings and activities for the event. (Photo by Travis Gulbrandson)

Despite the icy conditions, the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building was filled with area residents eager to know their number Saturday.

The building was the site of the annual Sanford Vermillion Community Health and Wellness Fair, for which Sanford Vermillion partnered with USD SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) to provide a variety of health screenings and activities. Numerous other groups were on-hand to provide tests and information, as well.

The theme is Know Your Number, so we encourage everybody to go out and find their number their glucose, their PSA number, their BMI, those important numbers that everybody should have screened every year, said Student Health Coordinator Rachel Svartoien.

Amanda Anderson, RN and wellness coordinator with Sanford Vermillion, said it is important for attendees to not only know their numbers, but understand their importance.

All those numbers are important as far as identifying any risk factors you might have for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, she said. A lot of those conditions develop slowly over a period of time, and unless you know your numbers you dont have the opportunity to make changes to your lifestyle and maybe offset the risk of those diseases occurring.

Given the atmosphere of the fair, people can receive this important information while having fun.

We mix in a lot of fun things, Anderson said. There is a lot of health education with that, so its really a non-threatening fun kind of day. Its a lot different than making an appointment with your doctor.

Blood screenings, blood pressure checks, body fat/body mass index analysis, breathing tests and vision checks were among the exams available to fair attendees.

Groups such as the American Cancer Society, South Dakota Lung, Heartland Home Care, the Chrons/Colitis Support Group and Clay County Public Health were among those distributing information.

The event is something for the whole entire family, Svartoien said. Thats something we like to encourage. If you do have somebody whos too young to go along you can take them to the childrens fun room, or some of the activities children can do.

Workers from Community Blood Bank of Sioux Falls were also available to take donations outside in their bloodmobile.

Serving an approximate 150-mile radius around Sioux Falls, Community Blood Bank serves hospitals and clinics affiliated with Avera-McKennan and Sanford Health.

All the blood we do draw stays within the community where we get the blood, said customer service representative Dorothy Lindblom. People can feel safe that theyre going to receive blood in one of our hospitals, and to know that theyre possibly giving to someone a friend or a neighbor.

Lindblom said events such as Saturdays give the blood bank a chance to register new donors.

Vermillion is a larger city. We were here last year and we drew about 50 people. Our average is about 12 an hour, she said.

These new donors are especially important during the winter months, when donations tend to be on the low side.

Every event that we can go to is very important, just so we can keep the blood supply up there, so we have it on-hand when its needed. Otherwise, it can go really fast, Lindblom said. A lot of our blood goes to cancer patients, who need the platelets, as well as to surgeries, traumas. So when you hear of a lot of car accidents, you know theres going to be a lot of blood used. So its a daily struggle to keep enough blood.

Another popular booth that had particular relevance for college students was overseen by the USD Scottish Rite Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic.

Using a mannequin named Lucy, visitors had the opportunity to find out if they listen to their iPods at a level that could permanently damage their hearing.

Jill Locki, a first-year graduate student in the audiology department, explained, We have you listen to an iPod. You have to be perfectly honest and turn it up as loud as you normally would listen to it. Then what we do is we put it into Lucy here, who will tell us how loud youre listening. Then from there we can see if its too loud, if it will cause damage or not.

I kind of want to see how I am, because I know that when Im at the gym I really crank it up, said Naddie Hensler, who is studying to be a speech pathologist. Its a great learning experience for us, as well as all the people that come through.

Audiology clinic coordinator Marni Johnson said having a booth at the fair is very important for the department.

A lot of people dont know what we do, and so I think its a good educational tool, she said. They dont always know that we offer a service to the public where they can come in. We have people come in for hearing evaluations and treatment, as well as speech and language evaluations and treatment.

Svartoien said the annual event has grown somewhat since its inception.

The first year was at the hospital, and then we kind of outgrew that (venue), so the first year the med building opened, weve had it here, she said. We might outgrow this space eventually. Last year, we did have a few booths on the third floor, but its kind of hard to get people up there, so we try to keep it scrunched to the first and second floors.

Despite the growth, the message has stayed the same.

We offer the basic screenings. Sometimes theres a random vendor here that wants to get a different perspective that we include, Svartoien said. But the foundation is the university students and the different services that Sanford has to offer.

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