McKinley educates students on health

By Bridget Maiellaro

The 13th Annual McKinley Health Center’s Special Populations Health Fair will be held today. The fair’s goal is to promote general wellness and to educate students and the community about illness prevention and health promotion.

“It really is a way of letting students get involved in what McKinley’s doing, together with campus and community health units, to promote health,” said Jerry Ogbudimkpa, director of health education at McKinley.

This year’s theme is “Gambling with Your Health?”

“We’re asking guests, ‘Are you (gambling with your health)?'” said Jessica Ivie, graduate assistant with McKinley’s Special Populations Students Health Concerns Committee. “If so, come and get healthy by getting some information.”

More than 50 organizations will be participating in this year’s event, through which guests will be able to take part in free cholesterol, glucose, spinal, vision and high blood pressure screenings. Health care providers, including McKinley, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, the American Cancer Society and Campus Recreation will provide some basic clinical services.

In addition, Community Blood Services, a not-for-profit corporation, will be conducting a blood drive.

“There will be health and social organizations locally located and also from the campus community,” said Vanessa Torres, member of the Special Populations Committee and junior in LAS.

Throughout the event, there will be a live disc jockey and performances by several organizations, such as Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, a Jazzercise demonstration and martial arts exercises.

“We want guests to have a good time while learning about health in a fun environment,” Ivie said.

Free massage and manicure services will also be provided, along with door prizes and free giveaways. Prizes include gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, Illini T-shirts, autographed football media guides and coffee mugs.

Guests will be eligible for free prizes by stopping at the registration table to pick up a brochure and then visiting at least five tables. After visiting the booths, participants will receive a prize entry form, Ivie said.

“There are a few things we put in there to pull in a crowd,” Ogbudimkpa said. “It’s not walk, walk, walk. We want you to have fun.”

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn will speak at 11:30 a.m. on ways to help guests promote their own health. Afterwards, he will take interested guests on a walk around the Quad.

The walk is to promote “Walk Across Illinois,” a health initiative designed to encourage Illinois residents to walk at least 167 miles during the course of a year. Quinn walked 167 miles in 2001, according to the Walk Across Illinois Web site.

“He is an advocate for health care for individuals in Illinois,” Ivie said. “He tries to help those who can afford it and those who can’t.”

The health fair will take place in Illini Union rooms A, B and C from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.