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Cleveland Clinic to host free community health fairs across Northeast Ohio

Joa Souza
The fairs will include screenings for high blood pressure and other common diseases and conditions, according to the Clinic.

The Cleveland Clinic will host a series of free community health fairs on Sept. 22 for people of all genders ages 18 and up to address health disparities in underserved and minority communities. The fairs, to be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will offer free health screenings for prostate cancer, diabetes, hepatitis C and other conditions, the Clinic announced in a media release.

Health officials at the Clinic say residents in underserved communities are not getting the care they need due to a lack of trust in health care providers that contributes to racial health disparities. This fair aims to help bridge these gaps, they said.

Racial health disparities in the U.S. are, in part, exacerbated by structural racism and discrimination, said the fairs' organizer Dr. Crystal Gadegbeku, chair of kidney medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

“People don't often feel comfortable and are fearful of these large institutions that provide care,” she said. “Many don't have that experience or familiarity with going and getting services that they may need.”

The community fairs will be held at four locations: Lutheran Hospital, South Pointe Hospital and on the Clinic's main campus in Cleveland and at Akron General hospital. Organizers chose the locations to be as accessible as possible, Gadegbeku said.

The hospital officials say they will also offer educational services about the diseases common in underserved and minority communities at the fairs.

“These diseases, particularly early on, don't have symptoms, and people don't feel anything,” Gadegbeku said. "They don't have an interaction with a health provider. They have no idea what what's going on in their bodies until it's very late.”

Another goal of the community fairs is to educate people on healthier lifestyle habits that can preserve quality of life, she said.

“We need to be advocates for our communities to make sure our public [and] local officials understand how important it is and how people may be suffering due to barriers,“ she added. “We need to continue to work towards providing environments that help people.”

To register for the event, visit clevelandclinic.org.

Tyisha is a reporter/producer for Ideastream Public Media’s health team.