La Porte Hospital held its annual multi-vendor Women’s Fair at Purdue University Northwest’s Student Services and Activities Complex in Westville on Tuesday, and interactive education was the emphasis to appeal to a wide audience of all ages.
Stacey Kellogg, La Porte Hospital’s Regional Manager of Community Relations, shared some of the event’s primary missions.
“One of the goals of Women’s Fair is to get people engaged in conversations about health. The more women – and men as well – can be comfortable talking about health concerns and risks, the more likely we are to have a healthier community,” explained Kellogg. “Women’s Fair is well-known for having doctors, nurses, physical therapists and others available with highly-interactive screenings and exhibits. The same people who take care of our patients are at Women’s Fair to help get the conversation going about how to be healthy.”
Kellogg stressed the importance of a wide variety of available activities. “Free screenings are a large component of Women’s Fair. We are so pleased to have the support of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte for the screenings completed by the Wellness Outreach team at La Porte Hospital, and for the support of the Purdue nursing students who donated their time to staff the screening areas. We are very fortunate to have such great community partners.”
Ashley Gerodimos, Director of Strategic Event Operations for Purdue Northwest, said the Purdue team was pleased to be working with La Porte Hospital for the first time for Women’s Fair.
“This may be the largest community event we’ve had here so far," explained Gerodimos. "They are really proud of their long-term partnership with us and our programs, and we're excited to bring the event to our facility.” Participants had access to a variety of free information and screenings, including: blood sugar for diabetes, blood pressure, body mass index, vision eye chart, cholesterol, and heel bone density for osteoporosis.
Char Gilpin, Radiology Clinical Instructor at La Porte Hospital, expressed the importance of getting women actively involved in early detection for breast cancer.
“Women should be aware that screening mammograms are very important at age 40 and older annually, and that we are here to help with any of their questions," said Gilpin. "Peace of mind is a valuable thing, and self-examination can also be a valuable part of the process. The sooner a lump is found, the better chance of successful treatment.”
La Porte Hospital recently installed new 3D mammography technology.
Gilpin explained that 80 percent of breast cancer patient have no family history of breast cancer, so it is important to be vigilant.
The hospital also welcomed the Hammond Police Department for the first time ever to host demonstrations and provide information about self-defense. Detective Dan Mohoi, and Officers Amanda Earley and David DeBoer showed attendees practical ways for defending against an attack, and helped provide reassurance to women about how to stay aware of their surroundings.
Inside the Mother/Daughter Experience, all six of the La Porte Physician Network OB/GYN providers were available throughout the day to educate women about the family birthing center options, the importance of HPV vaccination, health during menopause, and prenatal care. The Pediatric Rehabilitation Department provided education on childhood development and therapy, and pediatric staff was on hand with a large display about adolescent and teen health.
Because heart disease is the number one killer of men and women, La Porte Hospital had a cardiac exhibit that featured live echo demonstrations, hand-only CPR education and demos, and a new cardiologist in Northwest Indiana who specializes in heart disease for women.
Dr. Maya Kommineni M.D., is from La Porte Hospital’s sister facility Porter Regional Hospital, and heads the Women’s Heart Center there. No other center exists like it in the area. A champion of preventive measures and healthy eating, Dr. Kommineni stressed the importance long-term care for the heart.
“We’ve seen an improvement in diagnosis of heart disease for women, but not enough. It is still the number one killer. Physicians would prefer that people are aware of early warning signs and primary symptoms before anything bad happens,” said Kommineni. “Blood pressure, cholesterol tests, changes in diet, and stress reduction are all part of primary care. But in secondary care, if an event has already happened, we want to prevent it from ever happening again.”
Kommineni staffed the event’s popular Smoothie Station, which served up samples of her proprietary healthy smoothie recipes as a catalyst to talk about how nutrition is a large component of maintaining a healthy heart. Also new to Women’s Fair were Porter-Starke Services providing anxiety and depression screenings, Tour de La Porte and cycling demonstrations, cardio-drumming, and laughter yoga.
“It was a great opportunity to get involved with the big event and its interactive appeal," explained Michelle Shirk, Development Director for the La Porte County YMCA, which featured their Silver Sneakers senior fitness program.
For more information on La Porte Hospital services, visit www.laportehealth.com.