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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


OC Community Health Fair, May 5

(April 30, 2015) The 29th annual Ocean City Community Health Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on 40th Street, featuring 89 health and medical service vendors as well as eight different free screenings and tests.
“We’re able to offer a lot more screenings to the public due to our cooperation with Atlantic General Hospital,” said Dr. Melvin Friedman, the AARP’s Health Committee chair.
This will be the ninth year that Friedman has organized the free event, which the Ocean City AARP Chapter 1917 co-sponsors alongside AGH and the Town of Ocean City.
It will also be the second year of the event’s re-branding as the Ocean City Community Health Fair, as opposed to the former AARP Health Fair.
“We did that consciously to attract a younger crowd. When people saw ‘AARP,’ they’d assume it was just for older folks,” Friedman said. “I would say most of the crowd is still 50 on up. We always hope for a younger group to show, though.”
Besides demographics, Friedman has also seen the fair’s role change rapidly. Undoubtedly, the healthcare industry in Worcester County has undergone a huge boom in the past decade.
“We’ve gotten a lot more medical facilities in the area [in the past decade],” Friedman, a former pharmacologist, said. “At the beginning, there just weren’t that many.”
But where the fair once had to stretch to find exhibitors, there’s now a waiting list. Although 89 is the current cap, Friedman may be able to squeeze a few more vendors into the convention center’s upstairs hallway by Tuesday.
Correspondingly, while the fair currently draws around 500 attendees, it previously saw twice that number, back when the AARP event was the only game in town, so to speak.
“When this first started, there were close to 1,000 people that came though, because there weren’t other services out there,” Friedman said. “There are still plenty of people who can’t afford insurance. I can’t tell you how many people stop me and say they rely on this event every year because they still don’t have insurance that will cover these screenings.”
All of the services offered at Tuesday’s event are free of charge. All testing is done by AGH, and users are sent their results in the mail. Those planning to get a blood test, remember to fast for 12 hours prior to the fair.
This will also be the first year of participation by the Blood Bank of Delmarva. Several local businesses will be providing snacks and beverages for those who give blood during the fair.
The Blood Bank of Delmarva will be holding a blood drive throughout the event as well. To make an appointment with the Blood Bank call, 888-8BLOOD (888-825-6638).
Friedman wished to thank Dawn Denton of AGH and AARP 1917 President Chris Norris for their continued support in helping him put on the event.
For more information, call the Atlantic General Hospital Community Education office at 410-641-9268.