INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The annual Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair is back for its 35th year.
Organizers said even though the pandemic threw the event a year off schedule, the goal of improving access to health care for minority communities is the same.
Minority health organizers say the pandemic forced a lot of people to look a little bit closer at their health. But the pandemic also caused some delays in being able to do that, with longer wait times or having to sign up for virtual appointments.
The Indiana Convention Center halls are wide open spaces. But that’s what you need coming out of a pandemic when the focus is on health and wellness.
“I think in regards to just so many systemic barriers and things that exist that. That has created these unfortunate outcomes downfalls and different things,” said Antoniette Holt with the office of Minority Health.
Minority communities have some of the worst health outcomes. Access is a huge factor. This year’s minority health fair is welcoming back thousands to take advantage of free health care access, with services ranging from general blood work including glucose, lipid panels, to student athlete physicals, COVID vaccinations and more.
“I just want people to really take advantage of the opportunity. Because as I mentioned, there’s so many people who try to get into their doctors, but it’s a long line,” Holt said.
Many people who have insurance come. But long wait times for appointments bring them here. And for others, this may be their only health care per year.
“You have those people who make the health fair their regular check up. And we didn’t have it last year. So it’s an opportunity to get a check up,” said Holt.
And when insurance and financial barriers are gone, Holt says it’s important to make sure your health isn’t an afterthought but a priority.
“You’re your own best health advocate. And you know your health well and best and how you feel. You only get one body one opportunity, one chance.”