Trish Yerges
The La Grande Observer

The fourth-annual teen community health fair, hosted by Building Healthy Families, will be held on April 23 and April 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the clinic buildings next to the hospital at 603 Medical Parkway in Enterprise.

The 2019 Health Fest is funded by a grant from Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) and supported by in-kind donations from community providers.

“The two events are open to any kids grades five through 12 regardless of school or homeschool,” said Maria Weer, executive director of Building Healthy Families.

Parents should bring along their insurance card, but the goal, she said, is for most things to be free, regardless of insurance. EOCCO will be billed for services when applicable.

“The majority of services will be free for everyone, but if you have private insurance, then there will be some standard copays that apply,” Weer said.

At the health fest, kids will check in and get a passport with nine stations. The first one they go to is their primary care provider’s station.

Two of the three primary care clinics in Wallowa County will be at their own stations: Winding Waters Clinic and Mountain View Medical. If a child’s primary care provider is not present at the fair, the screening results will be forwarded to the provider for any follow-up that may be needed.

The children have an option to get their well-child checkup with their primary care provider. If they have had their well-child checkup within the last year, they can schedule it again at their regular time.

Weer noted annual health fairs like this one give parents and children a better understanding of the value of well-child visits, that they are more inclusive and holistic.

“We’re doing some targeted marketing to families who have not had preventative well-child visits in the last year,” she said. “We are working with those targeted populations to make sure we’re getting to the kids who really need to be in touch with their primary care provider.”

There are a number of other health care checks and screenings performed at the stations, including immunizations, vision checks, dental screenings and physical training tips. Stations will also present health and well-being activities.

Law enforcement and drug and alcohol prevention advisers will be there, so children will have the chance to learn about drinking, driving, and minors in possession.

One station will be run by eight community partners offering programming for middle school and high school youth “to talk about upcoming programs and job opportunities,” Weer said.

There are a variety of summer opportunities available, she said, from partners such as Safe Harbors, Building Happy Families and Wallowa Resources. There is a summer outdoor program that Youth Services runs as well as a summer jobs program. Wallowa Resources also has a summer internship program.

Annual health fest events have peaked public awareness and are part of the campaign to help families make their health a priority, Weer said.

“(There has been) an increase in attendance over the past years,” she said. “We were excited last year to have several Wallowa families attend.”

Weer said they can provide transportation help for participating Wallowa families if needed They may contact Building Healthy Families and request a gas card, which will help them make the round trip to the Health Fest.

Last year’s attendance was about 65 kids for the two-day event. “Our attendance goal this year is about 75, and if we can get 25 to 30 well-child visits done right at the events, that would be great,” she added.

See complete story in Monday's Observer