Vallejo free health fair helps the public, students

By Irma Widjojo - Vallejo Times Herald Staff Writer
Posted: 02/27/2012 01:00:59 AM PST

A Touro University student organization joined with Kaiser Permanente to organize a free health fair for the community Sunday.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., hundreds had their blood pressure and blood sugar level checked, received osteopathic manipulation, as well as health advice at Seafood City Supermarket,  3495 Sonoma Blvd.

"The health fair is to help narrow the health disparities in the community," said Rachel Ilagan, coordinator of the event. Ilagan is also a second year College of Osteopathic student and a member of the university's Filipino American Medical Society.

"We also get to practice with patients and we learn what health condition the community, especially the Filipino community, has," she added.

The university's provost and chief operating officer, Marilyn Hopkins. was also at the event to see the 30 students in action Sunday.

"The students are caring people," Hopkins said. "They are focused on the community, and they enjoy being out here."

The Asian American Donor Program also set up a booth at the fair to educate the public about participation in the program. James de Lara, a spokesman, said only 25 percent of 10 million donors in the United States is a minority. 

The free event began in 2010 and is held twice a year -- the next one is scheduled some time in August. 

"A lot of people don't have insurance," said Janet Burns, a professor in the Department of Osteopathic. "And a lot of insurance companies don't cover osteopathic manipulations. This is a way for us to let people know that we are here." 

Vallejoan Tony Martinez said his wife, who was shopping at the supermarket, told him to get is health checked on Sunday. It was also his first time at the fair.

"It's good for the citizens, for the Filipino-American community," Martinez said. He said he received advice on his diet after his screenings. 

The university also offers a free student-run health clinic at 4:30 to 8 p.m. every Thursday, at the Norman C. King Community Center, 545 Magazine St. The clinic offers screening exams, medication analysis, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and other health checks. 

For more information on the free clinic, call (707) 653-6331.