April 10, 2014 — It was an event that advanced the mission of the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ (SONHS) Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro. In keeping with its charge to place health equity front and center in the South Florida community and beyond, El Centro hosted and sponsored the first Health and Wellness Fair at Miami Dade County’s Coordinated Victims Assistance Center (CVAC) on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Organized around the theme of “A Map to Health”, the health fair delivered wellness education and various types of health screenings to the clients and their families of CVAC, a walk-in shelter that offers wraparound services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Dade County.
By means of educational sessions conducted by El Centro faculty, staff, and SONHS nursing and health studies students, the fair participants, primarily from underserved groups, received research-based health information and guidance on such topics as lice and mold prevention, how to avoid sexually transmitted infections, and even birth control counseling. Participants were able to have their blood pressure, blood glucose and/or BMI (body mass index) checked by the nursing students, who also shared exercise and healthy eating tips, providing fruit smoothies to their listeners as an example of an alternative to sugary sweets for obesity prevention.
El Centro’s community partners were also on hand, as the Miami-Dade County Dental Mobile Unit conducted dental screenings and proper brushing habit demonstrations. The county’s Test Miami Mobile Unit was available on-site to anyone interested in being tested for HIV, one of El Centro’s major areas of research as a condition that disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities.
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