A Community Health Fair
LELAND, Miss. – Good health is not so much a matter of motivation as it is adequate resources and community leadership, said Shelby Polk, associate professor of nursing and director of nurse practitioner programs at Delta State University (DSU).
“And in that regard, Leland can become one of those communities known for building a healthy environment,” said Polk. “You’ve just got to let the people in these communities decide what they want to promote good health and you have to put those people at the top.”
Polk and other healthcare professionals were doing their part to deliver that message at a recent community health fair at the new Leland Medical Clinic – a recently opened facility that is bringing needed care to a city that otherwise would be left without it.
Sponsored by DSU and the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) – which has been instrumental in the Leland Medical Clinic’s recent renovation and opening – the community health fair offered both physical and mental health screenings, nutrition education, a diabetic foot clinic and lifestyle awareness programs. Kids were treated to art and reading activities.
“This is so important,” said Leland resident Clara Earles, who battles high blood pressure. “Some people never get to go to the doctor. An event like this lets you know so much about your health so you can get the help you need.”
Without the new clinic, “it would be a disaster,” said Earles, who brought a few of her 13 grandchildren to the health fair. “We’d all have to hike to Cleveland, Greenville or Indianola. We’re so thankful that this is here.”
The Leland Medical Clinic is housed in the old city hospital, a nearly 60-year-old structure that has undergone a $1.2 million renovation to offer quality healthcare to residents who might otherwise be forced to travel to see a doctor or nurse practitioner. The renovation was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The new clinic features:
Seven exam rooms, including two pediatric exam rooms
X-ray services offering immediate results
Two full-service lab rooms
A patient exercise room
Knowledge about one’s own health is the only way to enjoy a quality life, said Leland resident Barbara Pennington, who came to the fair to check out her blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
“If you don’t have that insight, you’re really cheating yourself,” said Pennington. “The folks putting this on are very good at letting us know what we should be doing to live a healthier life. I appreciate them for that.”
On a regular basis, the Leland Medical Clinic’s staff, both full-time and part-time, includes the clinic medical director, Neal Suares, MD; family and psychiatric nurse practitioners; a registered dietician; community health worker; nurses; and front office personnel.
The clinic is a Recognized Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The designation means that the entire clinic staff, as well as patients, work together as a team by focusing on all aspects of patients’ health using enhanced technology and chronic disease management.
Catherine Hurse of Leland sees events such as the community health fair as a “starting point” for patients who might have more serious health problems. She credits the Delta Health Alliance for making a long-term commitment to health of her city’s residents.
“They’ve done so much here,” said Hurse. “We now have the health resources we