By Karl Brooks with photos by Jennifer Houghton
This year’s annual Men’s Health Fair at Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center (RMC) was a little bit different than years past, according to the organizer of the event, Melissa Richards. COVID-19 was a consideration in their procedures. For everyone’s sense of safety, masks were worn by all, both staff and those who came to take advantage of the free service.
“The purpose of our annual Men’s Health Fair, which is held in January, is to promote the importance of prostate screening,” Richards said. Screenings are recommended for men over the age of 45, and men of any age with a family history of cancer.
The procedure is relatively simple – a medical technician draws a small sample of blood into a vial to be used in the lab tests performed. One important test is to detect any signs of prostate cancer. It is also used for a complete blood count (CBC), which evaluates red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The CBC can evaluate your overall health and detect problems such as infections, anemia and leukemia.
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is also done, which is a group of 14 tests that measures several different substances in your blood. This test is typically done with annual checkups. The tests show information about the current status of your body’s metabolism, providing information on your blood sugar (glucose) levels, the balance of electrolytes and fluid as well as the health of your kidneys and liver.
LDRMC’s free annual service also includes running a lipid panel, which measures the amount cholesterol and fats in your blood. This test can be helpful in nutritional planning, as well as to evaluate effectiveness of prescribed cholesterol medication. Included also is a blood pressure test.
One noticeable difference this year was that fewer men showed up – 62 – in comparison to years past when 70-80 would show up to take advantage of the opportunity to get some important information about their health. Richards attributes the reduction to COVID-19, or what might be called “the fear factor.” Overall it accounted for about 15 percent fewer men.
The service was quick and easy thanks to a robust staff of sixteen. In addition to Richards, assisting in the health fair were Dr. Don Callens, Dr. Amanuel Abreha, Dr. Jessie Adame, his wife Lorai, Peter Samson – Lab Manager, Sally Alvarez – Lab Technician, Kayla Varner – Lab Technician, Hailey Jenkins – Registration, and Audianna Campbell – Registration.
Also helping to make this great free service happen were vendors that donated food items given as snacks afterward. These vendors included Angels Care Home Health; Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital Humble; Kindred Hospice Beaumont; Liberty Healthcare Center; and Hospice Plus.