NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 30 vendors from across the city participated in the Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University on April 21.
The event, which was free to the public, was a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.
All the vendors set up in Kean Hall on the university’s main campus had some connection to health care and wellness.
“It’s important that vendors from around the area come here and show what it means to participate in healthy lifestyles,” TSU President Glenda Glover said. “We want to go over some of the preventive measures; precautionary actions. Prevention is the heart of public health.”
Among its offerings, the fair provided information on weight loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings, including hypertension, glucose and cholesterol. There was also an opportunity for attendees to sign up for insurance.
William Ligon and his niece, Jada Smith, drove from Gallatin, Tennessee to attend the health fair. Smith, who is currently attending a community college, plans to enroll in Tennessee State’s nursing program next year.
“I’ve always liked to be able to help out people in need,” Smith said. “I like to care for people.”
Both Ligon and Smith said they enjoyed the health fair.
“This is great,” Ligon said. “We need more of this.”
Along with the Nashville vendors, several Tennessee State programs and departments participated. They included the TSU Nursing School, the Agriculture Department, the TSU Center for Aging, the TSU Wellness Center, and TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which has a full service campus clinic that averages about 600 patients a year, many of whom are from the surrounding community.
Dr. Gary-Lee A. Lewis, head of TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, said he hopes the fair will help increase that number “with the linkages that we make with the community.”
“It’s a mutually beneficial experience for both our students and value for the community,” Lewis said. “It showcases all aspects of health to the community.”
Vic Sorrell is the community engagement coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV vaccine program, which provided HIV testing and HIV prevention education and information at the fair.
“This is an ideal way for our community to collaborate on reaching the goal of zero new HIV transmissions by the year 2020, according to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” Sorrell said.
Ivan Davis Sr., director of Student Health Services at TSU, said the university plans to host many more health fairs.
“We’re just trying to give people access,” Davis said. “Some people don’t know where to begin to get health access.”
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.