Changes to HGB’s annual HealthFest mean greater community impact

Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital has held its annual HealthFest event for the past 15-plus years. Over time, HGB has realized a need to approach the health fair differently and, rather than hosting a one-time event, has decided to begin spreading the screening activities and information throughout the year as part of a new HealthQuest program.

“When we changed HGB’s mission to focus on community health and vitality, we wanted to increase the ways we could have a broad, positive impact for the majority,” said Barbara Fulton, HGB director of community development. “While we were able to reach many with our annual HealthFest event, we believe we can impact even more by transitioning to year-long HealthQuest activities.”

For many years, HealthFest was held the first Saturday of March, and the health and wellness activities and clinical screenings took place at the hospital. For the last two years, the event was held at HGB’s health park, AL!VE. The event featured a mix of interactive activities that included clinical screenings, demonstrations and educational booths, featuring many community organization partners.

“Our Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to care as a priority for improvement in our community. A challenge with creating HealthFest as a one-time event is that we were reaching very few of the underserved who most needed access to the free screenings and information,” Fulton said.

The original purpose for HealthFest was to reach those community members who have limited access to health care, whether because of their economic situation, lack of insurance coverage, lack of transportation, etc. By transitioning the annual event, HealthFest, to an ongoing program, HealthQuest, HGB will be able to reach out to and assist many more by offering educational and clinical opportunities throughout the year.

“We are working closely with Eaton County United Way, Housing Services of Mid-Michigan, and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department to be able to identify people who are in need in our community,” Fulton said.

HealthQuest will initially begin by providing quarterly opportunities for screenings such as cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, skin cancer, balance and body composition at the hospital, as well as in HGB’s physician practices and at AL!VE. The program will continue to grow as HGB collaborates with local community organizations to provide a wider benefit impact for the greater Charlotte area.

“We are also looking at ways we can go out into the community to help those who may lack transportation,” Fulton said. “And we will work to connect the patients with resources such as local service organizations and local medical staff.”

HGB and AL!VE also have a variety of programs, services and resources available to the community at no cost or a low cost to provide educational and health support that would traditionally have been found at HealthFest. These include educational presentations and materials, support groups, children’s programming and more.

“We encourage community members who looked to HealthFest for information and support to consider the many opportunities offered year-round at HGB and AL!VE,” Fulton said. “The best place to start is our websites at hgbhealth.com and myalive.com. And if you don’t have Internet access call 517-543-9575 to find out what’s available or stop by AL!VE to pick up a program guide or service guide.” AL!VE is located at 800 W. Lawrence Avenue in Charlotte, Mich.

HealthQuest activities are being planned and developed now, and more information will be available soon. Check HGB’s website at www.hgbhealth.com for updates as screenings and educational opportunities are added and scheduled.

Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital has been the community’s choice for health care for more than 80 years. HGB is committed to working together in health to provide quality care and enhance the vitality of the community.