ANAHEIM, CA – It was a busy weekend for more than 400 volunteers – both medical and non-medical – as over 2,500 attended the ninth Free Anaheim Health Fair held at the Anaheim Convention Center from May 29 to 31. This year marked the beginning of an innovative partnership with Remote Area Medical (RAM),
Interim Anaheim City Manager Paul Emery;Interim Assistant City Manager Kristine Ridge; Deputy City Manager Greg Garcia; Convention Center, Sports and Entertainment Executive Director Tom Morton, Fire Department Chief Randy Bruegman, Chief of Police Raul Quezada, City Attorney Michael Houston; City Clerk Linda Andal; Public Works Director Natalie Meeks, Finance Director Debbie Moreno, Planning Director David Belmer, Housing and Community Development Commissioners Fernando Dorado and Norma Kurtz, who was also representing Assemblyman Tom Daly, attended the health fair as special guests.
The Anaheim Health Fair provided free physical exams, heart checks, cholesterol screenings, diabetes and anemia tests, women’s services, along with chiropractic and acupuncture services. With support from RAM, the Health Fair was able to offer up to 100 dental chairs each day, which allowed dentists to provide visitors with tooth cleanings, extractions, fillings and many other dental services over the course of the three-day event. In addition, the Health Fair also provided eye exams and up to 300 pairs of prescription eyeglasses each day.
A team of top medical and surgical specialists were also present to advise and allay fears of some who had major health complications.The Anaheim Convention Center provided free parking for attendees while free transport was organized to those who did not have a ride.Event Chair for this year’s health fair was once again Anaheim City Council Member Jordan Brandman.
“The Anaheim Health Fair commenced in 2007 and the inaugural fair was held at the Brookhurst Community Center. The fair was held here for the next five years and was later held at the Western Anaheim Medical Center and Magnolia High School during the next two years. It was in 2014 that the fair was relocated to the more spacious Anaheim Convention Center,” said Dr. Nitin Shah, Past President of the Anekant Community Center and Founding Partner of the Anaheim Free Health Fair.
Dr. Shah said that until last year the Health Fair was held only for one day on a Sunday and that it was this year that the fair was held for three consecutive days. “This is also the first time that we are partnering with RAM, who are specialists in vision and dental care. It was in 2006 when Anaheim businessman Pravin Mody and Harry Sidhu,then an Anaheim City Councilman came to the city of Artesia where I was conducting the free health fair and asked if I could do the same for Anaheim. Harry said he would give me space and help raise money needed for the fair and Pravin promised financial support. This is how the Anaheim Free Medical Fair started in 2007 and since then we have not looked back and kept growing,” he said.
Dr. Shah said last year when they came to the Convention Center they noticed that the place was huge and thought that they could do more and do it better. “In 2012 we partnered with Lestonnac Tooth Clinic who put out dental chairs and did fillings and extractions on site. We entered into a partnership with RAM last November, which made it possible to bring the fair to the Convention Center in a much larger scale,” he said.
Volunteer coordinators and team leaders from the longstanding Anaheim Health Fair Group were crucial to the smooth running of the fair. Dr. Shah extended a special thanks and appreciation to the Anaheim Convention Center staff. Pediatrician Dr. Jonathan Kern said that he had been associated with certain free clinics but never had a good experience, which led him to stop volunteering. But he said volunteering with Dr. Shah was different. “I love this kind of stuff. I’m great at seeing patients,but all the paperwork drives me crazy,” Dr. Kern said drawing a comparison with this and other clinics that he had attended.
Grand Sponsor of the Fair, Pravin Modi, who is the Founder and Chairman of GBS Linens,said: “The number of man-hours it took us to put everything together and the number of volunteer hours –are just amazing. Hundreds of people participated to make this a real success so at the end all visitors would reap the benefits. It was a joint effort. I mean somebody had to start it but it doesn’t go too far with just a few people.”
“This is like planting a seed. It is a little plant in the beginning, but with time it grows into a tree. It would grow to its full potential because of the caring and nurturing by large number of people. We are a group of volunteers that Nitin started with and today has grown to greater numbers doing a much needed service to society,” Modi said.