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Equity and empowerment: Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair

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In a display of community solidarity, Indianapolis hosted the 2024 Health Fair from June 27-30, tailored specifically for its Black and minority residents. The event aimed to foster wellness and equity among diverse populations and offer resources to those often marginalized in care access.

The fair was in halls J and K in the Indiana Convention Center and featured more than $4,000 in free exams and screenings. Eighty vendors offered $10 birth certificates, vaccinations, screenings and resources.

The schedule was packed full of panels, fitness classes, educational presentations and activities for the nearly 10,000 Hoosiers the event brought together. The services and screenings were available for both youth and adult participants.

The theme for the 2024 fair was Culture of Health, emphasizing the importance of bringing everyone together to improve the overall wellness of Hoosier families.

“A culture of health requires a foundation of community to thrive,” said Lindsay Wever, state health commissioner. “The annual Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair is an opportunity to build and strengthen that community.”

The fair is organized by the Indiana Department of Health in partnership with the Indiana Black Expo. To facilitate the mission of healthy families, back-to-school immunizations and sports physicals were offered to younger attendees.

Panel discussions featured topics such as seniors and caregivers and drug and sexual education. Yoga, boxing, strength training and other physical activities were available to participants throughout the space.

“In our work to reduce the health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, this event is a one-stop shop for essential screenings and education that provides all Hoosiers with the information and tools needed to improve their health,” Wever said.

The Black and Minority Health Fair comes at a time when the health care system in the U.S. is facing backlash for the inequities people of color face when receiving medical care. According to a Pew Research Center study, 55% of Black adults say they have had at least one of six listed negative experiences with doctors, like being treated with less respect than other patients or having to speak up to get the proper care.

“We can’t afford to go to the doctor,” said Tamara Lawson, a first-time attendee of the fair. “My kids need their vaccinations. I need to check up on my health and my mom’s health, so we come (to the health fair).”

In addition to the screenings, the first annual mental health symposium with Ed Gordon was also featured at the event. The symposium shines a light on mental well-being for the Black community and reaches out to those suffering.

Other unique additions to this year’s fair were the Rev. Charles Williams Prostate Cancer Mobile Unit, a service providing men with digital rectal examinations, and the statewide anti-tobacco initiative, offering coaching and support for those looking to stop smoking.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317-762-7854 or follow her on Instagram at @hanna.rauworth.

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