(From The Campus Lantern – January 22, 2015)
On Monday, January 19, Eastern Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) held their second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Health Fair at Calvary Fellowship Church in Willimantic, Connecticut. Almost fifteen organizations tabled at the event to share their health resources and volunteer opportunities with the Willimantic community. The organizations included Access Health CT, Generations Family Health Center, and the Eastern Connecticut State University chapter of the National Organization for Women. Each organization donated an item to raffle off to the attendees of the fair.
People in attendance were encouraged to visit each table to learn about the resources that each organization has to offer to the Willimantic community. The fair kicked off with a video about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy of service. Shortly after, the keynote speaker, Stephanie Guess, Director of Managed Services at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Southeastern Connecticut Mental Health region, gave a heartwarming speech about the importance of social justice and activism in the community.
The response from those in attendance was positive. Throughout the day, the fair was filled with Willimantic locals of all ages who were enthusiastic to meet with professionals and learn about the health-related resources available to the community. The videos about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life evoked emotion and passion in the crowd.
Sabrina Davis, an AHEC intern, reflected upon the success of the event, “The MLK Health Fair was very successful in addressing health disparities in the Windham community. As Dr. King firmly believed, injustices in the healthcare system are the most egregious forms of inequality. By having surrounding organizations and agencies provide health education to the underserved populations of Windham, some of the barriers to adequate healthcare were lessened.”
According to their website, Eastern CT AHEC Inc.’s mission is to enhance access to culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare education and increase the diversity, quality, and distribution of future healthcare professionals. AHEC offers volunteer opportunities for Eastern students through their Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC) program. To learn more, visit the organization’s website at http://www.easternctahec.org or email Gina Lopez, CHSC Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.