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HCGH’s Latino Health Fair Draws a Crowd

Cindi Miller, a nurse who for 17 years has directed community health education at Howard County General Hospital, is an old hand at organizing health fairs. So when putting together a Latino health fair this spring, she felt confident that the event would draw about 250 people. To her surprise, more than 400 showed up.

The fair, held on March 19 at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia and organized with partners Alianza de la Comunidad, St. John the Evangelist Church and Howard County Cancer Coalition, attracted no shortage of vendors, either. On hand were HIV, breast cancer, colorectal, hearing and hepatitis B screenings, cardiovascular risk assessments, mental health providers, pediatricians and more. There were some serious findings: Two people were sent to the ED with high blood pressure, and a few others had breast irregularities.

The event highlighted the intense demand for health care on the part of the burgeoning Latino community. It showed, too, the importance of being able to communicate with this group in Spanish. About 78 percent of participants said they learned about the fair from a friend or from their church, instead of classic sources like fliers and newspaper ads. Miller had interpreters and Spanish-speaking physicians on hand; they were busy.

With the support of the Horizon Foundation, a philanthropy formed in 1998 as a result of the hospital’s merger with Hopkins Medicine, HCGH now is developing patient education materials in Spanish.

Anne Bennett Swingle




Johns Hopkins Medicine

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