Health fair promotes diversity

With Vernon becoming increasingly multicultural, the Diversity Health Fair hopes to help raise awareness and provide culturally responsive health information to the community.

Taking place Saturday at the Schubert Centre, the fair’s theme this year is Chronic Disease Prevention and features a wide variety of exhibitors, demonstrations and health screenings.

“Our objective is to link health services, community agencies, retailers and the public and at the same time respond to the growing interest among the multi-ethnic, multicultural community for simple solutions to healthier living,” said coordinator Dalvir Nahal, with Service B.C. and a member of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation board.

Open to all ages, the sixth annual fair features guest speakers from the University of Victoria and Dr. Curtis Mohamed from Interior Health giving the keynote presentation at 4 p.m. on the topic of heart health.

“We are lucky to have Jay Bains from UVic join us and he will be speaking about different ways to manage pain. We also have Dr. Rex Hawthorne of Cornerstone Dental Group speaking about dental hygiene.”

As well, Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji and his wife will be in attendance. Bhurji is a well-known physician in the South Asian community of Vancouver, promoting physical, spiritual and mental health.

“We will have experts in various health-related fields educate the public on different ways to prevent chronic disease,” said Nahal. “We will have food samples and are super excited to have Simply Delicious join us this year and about a more natural approach to healthy living.

“We have Arise Yoga doing small yoga classes to teach the basics of yoga, face painting for children and also we have tons of prizes to be won including gift cards from Sparkling Hills, courtesy of Sunterra Custom Homes.

In addition to food demonstrations, henna painting and performances from ethnic dance groups, there will be blood pressure testing, antioxidant testing, bone density testing and oxygen flow testing.

Exhibitors include Nolan’s Pharmasave, St. John Ambulance, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Rockwell Audiology, Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society, the North Okanagan Punjabi Heritage Society,  Rogers Foods and Subway.

“The fair is growing every year and I think its a great event,” said Nahal. “It’s free education for the public to see what resources are out there to help them in health-related issues and to create awareness. It’s a great way for exhibitors to showcase what services they provide.

“This is my first year to coordinate this event and I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity, as I am very passionate when it comes to health issues because I am a cancer survivor myself.”

Admission to the Diversity Health Fair is free and runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Schubert Centre, 3505-30th Ave., downtown Vernon.


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