This year's Kids 1st Health Fair provided a variety of services to 892 children who are preparing for the new school year by updating their health needs.
From dental checkups to physical exams, immunizations and even feet exams, the fair, held Aug. 7 at Miguel Juarez Middle School in Waukegan, offered considerable savings for eligible families who met specific income guidelines. In Lake County, a physical, dental exam and two vaccinations for one child at the full-pay level could cost more than $200.
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"This fair gives parents an opportunity to get their children's health care needs met at one time and in one place," said Tony Beltran, the health department's executive director. "It is a convenience for parents, but it also helps keep the children in our community healthy and in school."
Sponsored by the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and United Way of Lake County, the fair marked its 21st year.
Approximately 400 volunteers, including 110 from the health department, came together to provide the services. For the first time in the fair's history, the Northern Illinois Food Bank distributed pre-packed bags of snacks for all families in attendance.
"Kids 1st allows our students to see the impact of health care and how, by working together as a team, physicians, physical therapists and other providers can best deliver care to the families who need us most," said Dr. K. Michael Welch, president and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.
In addition to meeting state of Illinois preschool and school health requirements, the fair provides a variety of other health screenings, including lead and hemoglobin. If a medical condition is found, referrals are made and the health department or another provider follows up.
"Our goal is to make sure kids not only have the skills they need to succeed, but are also 100 percent up-to-date on immunizations and physicals so they can start school on time," said Kristi Long, president and CEO of United Way of Lake County. "We are proud to partner with the Lake County Health Department and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, two organizations vital to keeping our community and kids healthy and strong."