Gain a first-hand view of how health care partners are impacting community health at the Celebrating Wellness Health Fair, held on July 24, 2014 in San Diego.
Understanding the specific needs of a community is important when attempting to implement a community health-focused event. A successful event also requires strong collaboration between community partners. One example of how community collaboration can lead to success is the Celebrating Wellness Health Fair, which was held at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in San Diego, California on July 24, 2014.
Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands, joined with Serving Seniors to facilitate the fair. The event brought together community partners and health providers to offer information, meaningful discussion and health screenings to seniors at the facility.
Mary Mazyck, RN, Vice President of Programs and Services at Serving Seniors, noted that having a relationship with HSAG and its partners helped tremendously with planning and carrying out the event. “It was very easy to put together an event like this since we already had such great support and assistance from HSAG,” Mazyck said.
The idea of the fair was brought to life when the steering committee for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Coordination of Care Collaborative began planning their annual Learning and Action Network educational event.
Michelle Pastrano-Bower, Project-Data Coordinator on the Care Coordination Team at HSAG, explained that hosting an event focused on seniors was new territory for the QIN-QIO. “When the QIO Program increased its activities in the area of patient and family engagement, we thought a community health fair for seniors would be a great opportunity to engage directly with beneficiaries and caregivers,” Pastrano-Bower said.
Once the idea for a community health fair was finalized, HSAG determined that focus group feedback would be the best way to gauge what types of health-related vendors and information that seniors would be interested in accessing at the fair.
“The focus groups were helpful in determining what seniors wanted to learn about,” said JoLynn Hinger, Communication Project Manager at HSAG. “We will definitely consider them a best practice moving forward.”
The Celebrating Wellness Health Fair was one of the wellness center’s most successful events with approximately 350 seniors in attendance. More than 20 exhibitors presented health and wellness information focused on nutrition, cholesterol, diabetes, and advance directives. A local pharmacy offered free blood pressure, blood sugar and bone density screenings.
"The Celebrating Wellness Health Fair was one of the wellness center’s most successful events with approximately 350 seniors in attendance."
Reflecting on the success of the fair, Mazyck re-emphasized the importance of community collaboration. “It is so important to find other community partners who share your mission and want to help the same populations. Events such as the fair are essentially a natural evolution of those relationships and have the ability to positively impact the community,” she said.
Both HSAG and the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center continue to work with providers in the San Diego area to coordinate events and programs to benefit local communities.