Extension hosts health screening that sees dozens

Published 7:14 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

Customers found more than groceries at Calhoun Foods Friday — they were greeted with the option of participating in a free health screening sponsored by the Dallas County Extension Agency.

Rosalind Harris came to the grocery store to shop, but once she saw the booth she decided to get screened.

“I actually came in here for something else,” Harris said. “I was excited when they were doing the screening because I was concerned about diabetes because of the history of my family. “

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Harris said when she came in she knew the screening “was right on time.”

The health screenings saw more than 60 people participate, meaning their blood pressure, blood sugars and weight were checked.

“We’re doing this to highlight national diabetes awareness month, [which is recognized in November],” Dorothy Chatmon, diabetes instructor said. “People have just stopped in because they’re curious about their health. And so far we’ve had some people who’ve had to be referred to physicians or their physician because they have elevated blood pressures or blood sugar or both.”

Linda Andrews of Health Mark said they did the screening in the grocery store to draw awareness to people’s health.

“With the holidays coming up there’s a lot of diabetics who love to splurge during the holidays. [We wanted] to draw awareness that you are diabetic and there are healthy choices even with the holidays here, to make it healthy for them,” she said. “And to actually target the health problems that are associated with diabetes.”

Chatmon said they hoped to highlight the complications that come along with diabetes, so they provided educational materials for those who were screened.

Students from the Dallas County Career Technical Center, as a part of Health Occupations Students of America, volunteered and gained hands on experience administering screenings.

“They have participated in our diabetes conference that we have annually. I just thought maybe I would ask their instructors to see if this would be an opportunity for them to get some more experience,” Chatmon said.

“I think it’s preparing us for the next step, when we get out and we actually get into the work field,” HOSA student Ashley Leak said. “We’re noticing today as we screen more and more people that some of them probably knew that they had high blood pressure or high blood sugar, and went ahead and got it done anyways to participate and also check up on themselves. There were also people didn’t know and they came and sat down and got it done and they were really surprise to know, so we gave them some tips and some pointers and told them to eat better or to exercise and they walked away happy.”

HOSA student Antono Lewis said the hands on experience will be something that will stick with him.

“This opportunity today has just afforded me to see everything pretty much that goes on to get a hands on feel to it,” he said. “It just lets me have a great mindset to be able to go into the medical field some day.”