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'Families, Fitness, Fun & Fellowship'
NIH-Asbury Health Fair Urges 'Building a Healthier You'

By Carla Garnett

Photos by Janet Stephens

NIH took its health disparities message on the road recently, teaming with several public and private organizations to present "Families, Fitness, Fun & Fellowship: Building a Healthier You," a health fair held at Asbury United Methodist Church, located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C.

"I want to thank the NIH and its leadership for acknowledging that there are health disparities in our communities and for taking the initiative to bring this valuable information from their campus into a diverse area of the District," said Anthony Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C., who stopped by the fair and took part in several activities including a blood pressure screening and an eye health exam. "Prevention is our first line of defense against disease and it is important that this kind of information reach the people."

Anthony Williams (l), mayor of Washington, D.C., is welcomed to the recent NIH-Asbury health fair by NICHD deputy director Dr. Yvonne Maddox and Rev. Eugene Matthews, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church.

Kicking off literally with a 10-minute interactive fitness demonstration by YWCA Fitness and Aquatic Center trainer Claudia Booker, the fair mixed brief lectures on breast and prostate cancer awareness, hypertension and obesity — diseases disproportionately affecting minority communities — with exhibits, demonstrations and health screenings by such organizations as the Maryland Statewide Health Network, the Shaolin Wu-Shu Martial Arts Academy and Delights of the Garden vegetarian restaurant. Event planners led by Kay Johnson Graham, NINR/NIDCD EEO officer, included representatives from a cross-section of NIH and Asbury church. Tables were packed with NIH information and staffed by employees from several institutes, the Clinical Center and the Office of the Director. In addition, NICHD, NIAMS and NIAAA hosted exhibits of their own, and the Office of Research on Women's Health ran a short film throughout the day.

Lennox Graham of the University of Maryland Statewide Health Network demonstrates how blood flows for fair attendees.

"This event represents a real partnership between NIH and the church," said Dr. Yvonne Maddox, NICHD deputy director, who gave the event's keynote talk on health disparities. "The role of NIH is to improve the health of all people. We know that the Bible says the body is a temple, so this is a wonderful setting for a health fair. Prevention and health promotion are things we all can do to maintain our temples. The first step is educating yourself."

"We're gratified to join hands with NIH," said Rev. Eugene Matthews, pastor of Asbury.

NCI nurse Florentino Merced-Galindez, who also represented the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, discusses NIH clinical trial opportunities.

The group's next community event is a panel discussion on "Asthma Across the Lifespan," featuring Dr. Floyd Malveaux, associate provost for health affairs at Howard University. The discussion will be held on Sunday, Nov. 24 from 1:15 to 3:30 p.m. at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Donna Hopkins, a breast cancer survivor from the American Cancer Society, describes her journey to wellness.

Former NIDDK fellow Dr. Soren Snitker gives talk on obesity.

NIAAA's Dr. Anton Bizzell offers information at one of several NIH tables at the event.

Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths examines the mayor's eyes.

Maddox and Dr. Nate Stinson of HHS listen to the mayor's opening remarks.

NIH collaborates with Asbury United Methodist Church to host a health fair for a downtown D.C. community.

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