Health Fair this weekend

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Staff Report

More than 30 exhibitors and health care professionals are scheduled to take part in the Panola County Community Health Fair on Saturday, April 29, at the Batesville Civic Center. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Health screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol will be available at no charge, as well as eye screenings. 

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There will be “hands on” basic life support training for laypersons led by experts from the University of MIssissippi Medical Center’s Advanced Life Support team. Health education mini-talks on high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes by local experts are part of the lineup.

Mental health professionals will also be available for the public at the event. 

“We are so excited about being in Panola County and the Health Fair is a wonderful opportunity for community interaction and to keep Batesville and surrounding areas updated on the progress of the RURAL Study,” said Dr. Ervin Fox, UMMC professor of medicine and principal investigator for the Mississippi sites for the study.

Panola County, along with Oktibehha, was chosen two years ago to participate in the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Study, or RURAL, which will allow researchers to learn what causes the high burden of heart, lung, blood and sleep,  HLBS for short, disorders in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and offer clues regarding how to alleviate them.

With funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and led by Boston University, the six-year, $21.4 million multi-site prospective cohort study will include 50 investigators from 16 institutions.

To better understand why certain factors amplify risk in some rural counties and what renders some communities more resilient, the researchers plan to recruit and study 4,000 multi-ethnic participants from 10 of the most economically challenged rural counties in the Southern Appalachia and Mississippi Delta regions, or AMD.

The RURAL Study team has begun to recruit Panola Countians who are interested in taking part in the study for the preliminary stages. The Health Fair will be an opportunity to further those relationships, Dr. Fox said.

The other 11 institutions participating in RURAL are Duke University; Emory University; Johns Hopkins University; University of California, Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute; University of California, Berkeley; University of Massachusetts Medical School; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; University of Vermont; University of Virginia at Charlottesville and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Karen Bascom/UMMC contributed to this report.