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AMMC hosts 22nd Men's Health Fair

Kevontae Pope (right) of Paragould, visits with Amy Elms, APRN-FNP, and audiologist Hillary Jones, both of the AMMC ENT Audiology Clinic during the hospital's health fair on Thursday. "I came to see what's available," said Pope, "and to get my blood pressure checked."

Gary Exelby / Daily Press

BY GARY EXELBY gexelby@paragoulddailypress.com

This year's men's health fair at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center (AMMC) brought out a lot of men.

"We have had 197 register by 9:57 a.m.," said Director of Patient Education Shannon Walton, RN. "So we are anticipating at least as many as the 400 we had last year."

The fair, the hospital's 22nd annual, included representatives from organizations across the spectrum of men's health concerns, Walton said.

"We have all aspects of health covered here," she said, "physical health, mental health, home health, insurance, hospice care, medical suppliers, individual physicians, dentists, chiropractors, vision doctors ENT [ear-nose-throat] and surgery."

Walton said there were a total of 45 vendors, an increase over last year's record total. The fair, themed "The '70s" in recognition of the hospital's 70th year in existence, even had vendors one would not ordinarily expect at a health fair.

"We are here to provide information about cooking safety and smoke detectors," said Paragould Fire Marshal Chris Rollings.

"I'm here because in a disaster, people's health will be at risk," said Greene County Emergency Services Coordinator Erik Wright. "And we want people to get through disasters with no problems, as far as we can."

Chuck Long of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said the Commission always has a booth a the fair.

"We talk about outdoor safety, tree stand safety and the outdoors," he said. "We want to encourage people to get outside."

The fair offered free screenings for blood pressure, eye testing and blood tests for glucose (blood sugar), cholesterol and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is an early indicator of prostate cancer, and can enable early and extremely effective treatment. The screening was what brought many men to the fair.

"I came for the blood work," said Melvin Kirklin of Paragould.

"So did I," added Larry McCree of Paragould.

James Wilcox of Paragould said he makes it to the health fair every year.

"I want to get everything checked out," he said.

"I came for the screenings," said Bill Grogan of Paragould.

Hospital President and CEO Barry Davis said the health fair represented an opportunity for AMMC to make the community aware of the entire spectrum of medical services available in Paragould and the surrounding area.

"It's a chance for men to take advantage of the free screenings," he said, "and be alerted to any problems. It's all part of giving back to the community."