July 09, 2004 25th Harh, 536 Nanakshahi
Queens, New York – UNITED SIKHS organized a Health Fair at Gurdwara Makan Shah Lobhana (113-10 101 Ave, Richmond Hill, New York 11419) on June 20, 2004, in which variety of health and safety information was made available to the attending public. In addition, the Health Fair invited speakers to give their views on Health and Nutrition, Early detection of Cancer, Women’s Health, Domestic Violence and Alcohol Abuse as well as how to manage medical emergencies. A Blood Donation Drive was also arranged as part of the Fair on the special request of Long Island Blood Center to meet the blood shortage in the tri-state area.
The Fair was made possible with the active participation of the Queens Hospital Center, St. Mary’s Hospital of Brooklyn, Health First, Special Commission of Domestic Violence and volunteer Sikh physicians. The physicians spoke on various medical issues and answered questions that the attending public had. The participating organizations set up their booths and provided information on free medical insurance, HIV counseling/education, blood screening, asthma education and screening, diabetes screening and a dental checkup. The response to the Health Fair was tremendous, and was attended by more than a thousand people. In anticipation of the event, people lined up for free medical check-ups even before the opening of the Health Fair. Visitors to the Health Fair were tested for their sugar level, and some were found to have a count of more than 200 mg/dL. (normal ranges are 70-110 mg/dL.) and were recommended to see a physician immediately. A granthi (Sikh clergyman) from India was sent to the emergency room, as his blood sugar count was 500.
The active participation of the physicians who volunteered and interacted with the public giving valuable advice and helpful information was truly an inspiration. Dr Amritpal Kaur’s lecture on Health and Nutrition not only identified the pitfalls in the typical Punjabi diet but also suggested substitute healthier foods. She had made a special effort to translate her charts in Punjabi and had an interactive session with the attending public. The second lecture was delivered by Dr. Kiranjeet Kaur, regarding the detection of breast cancer, A brochure entitled “Signs, Symptoms, Detection and Treatment”, showing how to do a breast self-examination for cancer, was given out and emphasis was laid on yearly physician checkup, including X-ray and Mammogram, particularly for women over the age of 40.
Dr. Grover talked about domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Noting that the majority of the domestic violence in communities goes unreported, with the majority of the victims being women, Dr. Grover conveyed that there are many organizations that are involved in assisting the victims of domestic violence. In the Punjab (where the vast majority of the attendees originate from), domestic violence is a prevalent problem and Punjabi immigrants who come to the U.S. do not necessarily shed this criminal behavior once here. The victim needs to know that there is help available for her to escape this cycle of domestic abuse, and Dr. Grover hoped that her presentation would be the beginning of relief for potential victims. Dr. Suber Singh gave a lecture on HIV prevention and education, as well as basic CPR training. He also gave his views on how to manage medical emergencies and how to make the most effective use of dialing 911. This was well received by the public.
The Blood drive was also a marvelous success, as the donations by the attendees was more than originally anticipated. The attendees also generously donated plasma for bone marrow transplantation.
Because of the tremendous attendance, the Fair extended beyond its normal closing time, as there were still a number of people seeking medical services and advice. UNITED SIKHS has a long tradition of caring for the underserved and this Fair was another jewel in its crown. This Health Fair was a step to complete the vision of a healthy world where the common and not so privileged get health services free of cost. The large number of attendees and the Sikh community being at a high risk of heart related problems and diabetes only reinforced the apparent need for such events to be held in the future with more frequency.
UNITED SIKHS would like to the New York Office of Minority Health Region II for providing funds for the printing of brochures and posters.
Attendees being educated on medical issues facing the community.
Generous attendees donating blood and plasma to help save a life.
Scene outside of the Health Fair – children and adults welcome!
Education of the Public – a key to a healthy community.
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To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity. UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities. UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavor than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good. Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfill its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all. We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.