Health fair an important local Grand Canyon event

Fair will be held April 29 from 2-7 p.m. at the rec center

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Organizers plan a number of activities for this year's third annual Health Awareness Fair. The event will be held April 29 at the Grand Canyon Recreation Center from 2-7 p.m. The event is open to anyone in the Grand Canyon and Tusayan communities. Raffle drawings, free information and a number of other activities are planned for the event, according to Dean Norris, manager of North Country Health Care. Norris is organizing the event with local resident Bonnie Taylor.

"Every year the park service and other entities from throughout the community put on a health fair. It has been very successful in the past," Norris said. "Last year it was at the Grand Canyon Rec Center, which is where it will be held this year."

Norris added that the hours for the fair have changed this year compared to prior years.

"This year we've moved the hours from 2-7 p.m. so that we capture all the people with job and shift changes, as well as school. Our intention is to be a little more flexible on the hours so that attendance from those people who have job shifts in the park can come," Norris said, adding that a large number of informational booths will be offered during this year's fair, from as far as Tuba City, Flagstaff and from organizations located within the area.

Booths and activities at the fair will include diabetes and stroke awareness, cardiovascular health and wellness, smoking cessation and substance abuse, stress awareness, AIDS/HIV information, teen pregnancy prevention, AHCSS information booth, Reverse 911, hiking and sun safety, CPR demonstrations with class sign-up information and more. Xanterra, Grand Canyon National Park, North Country Health Care, Delaware North and the Grand Canyon Best Western Squire Inn sponsor the event.

"It's intended to be a one-stop visit. We'll have some youth-oriented booths, actually a segregated section for sensitive family-related issues, which we'll (ask) parents to not let their children go into those areas. We will have Health Choice, in conjunction with North Country, which will be bringing an AHCCCS application process and information. Plus North Country will be bringing in preventative diabetes, well woman and mental health services for people. The intention is to get as much information to people in the community about what services are available, as well as to show the connection between the emergency and support services in the park and those of other vendors. Xanterra will be well represented also," Norris said. "In addition we will be providing some in-services on healthy hygiene, how to lower job stress and physical work place stress, those kinds of things. It's a pretty eclectic group, we'll cover everything from lifestyle to health management, but also those who may have particular health issues will understand what kind of services we provide at the clinic. We are making a concerted effort to let the community know that we're not just an urgent care drop-in clinic, but we have primary care, family practice physicians. I have a physician that's been there over three years and another that's been there over two years, which is a nice consistency for the community."

Clinic gets connected

North Country Health Care recently installed an electronic record system that allows health care officials to access a number of other health services throughout the area. According to Norris, the system has been in place for roughly two weeks.

"We just installed an electronic medical record, which really brought a tremendous amount of, not only deficiency, but a technique to our practice. Our providers are just very excited that North Country has brought this utility in, it helps us connect to laboratories, pharmacies, x-ray and other provider specialists," Norris said. "It's gone very well. It does bring a connectivity for the clinic to the rest of the health care community in Flagstaff and northern Arizona. It brings us to a higher level of sophistication than what we've had before."

New pharmacy

In other news for the clinic, Norris said a retail pharmacy is expected to be in place by the end of June. Besides locals, he said the pharmacy would also be available to non-patients at the Canyon.

"We'll be the first certified tele-pharmacy in the state," Norris said. "If they need to speak directly to the pharmacist, we'll have an electronic connection via video conference to that pharmacist and then anyone who needs prescriptions filled from other physicians or other entities can be filled here."

He said he is currently building out space for the pharmacy at the clinic and hopes to have a pharmacist in place within a couple of months. The facility will be open five days a week, 10 hours a day, Norris said.

"People will no longer have to travel to Flag and Williams for that," Norris said.

He said dental services might also be offered at the clinic by the end of the summer.

"I think it's an extension of the community foundation that we are trying to build. I've been real pleased with the support North Country has brought for me to do that. We're moving forward," Norris said, adding that many of the new services are the culmination of five years' worth of work.

"We've had people that have been chipping away at building a foundation," he said.

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