The farthest reaches of Delaware, Schoharie Counties will come together at the Grand Gorge Civic Center on Saturday, July 24 with a common goal:
The 10am-2pm event will feature 25 tables and displays along with talks by local officials and health care representatives.
But the centerpiece, said Dorothy Morris and Karen Maher, two of those helping to organize the Grand Gorge Health Fair, will be a chance for people from an underserved area to get face-to-face answers to their questions and concerns.
“People should think of it as an opportunity to interview some of these different agencies about what they can do for them,” explained Rev. Morris—Pastor Dot to her United Methodist Church congregations in Grand Gorge and Gilboa.
More than 135 people attended last year’s event; a larger crowd is expected this year, in part because of how well the first Health Fair went over, said Ms. Maher, who lives in Conesville and works in community outreach for O’Connor Hospital.
Among the health services and agencies represented will be: HIV testing, children’s fingerprinting, blood pressure screening, Children’s Health Insurance Plan, cancer screening, the Lifenet helicopter, Cooperative Extension, chiropractor, cranial sacral therapy and therapy using horses, school-based health services, Rural 3 for Tobacco Free Communities, and Alzheimer’s education.
“Geographically, this is an area that’s a long ways from many health services,” Ms. Maher explained.
“And a lot of people don’t even have insurance. We see this as a way to put them in touch with what’s available.”
Rev. Morris moved to Grand Gorge from Long Island in 2006 and almost immediately realized there was a pretty big gap when it came to health care services.
Even today, Rev. Morris travels back downstate for much of her own medical care because that’s where her insurance is accepted.
“And of course, that’s a big thing now: Changes in health insurance,” she said.
“We want the Health Fair to be the kind of place where people can come and say, ‘I’m underinsured. What can you do to help me?’”
Ms. Maher and Rev. Morris met when Ms. Maher was doing free blood pressure screenings in a Delaware County bank and together, the two decided to build on that one-on-one model to help address other health-related needs.
Both people see the event, as “more than a place to pick up pamphlets,” and as something that will be ongoing.
“That’s something we heard again and again last year,” Ms. Maher said. “People wanted more of this.”
The event will run from 10-2, with speakers including Assemblymen Pete Lopez and Cliff Crouch and O’Connor Hospital CEO Dan Ayres speaking from 1-1pm.
For more information, or to get involved, contact Rev, Morris at (607) 588-7533 or Ms. Maher at (607) 435-6387.