Community Health Fairs Deliver | Promos On-Time

By Michael Lerner
Thursday, February 7th 2019
Regardless of the speed at which news and information reach out to people through mainstream media and technology, there is still a gap between certain important health topics and the people that can benefit from them the most. From rural areas to at risk communities, there is a way of breaching that void for health related information, health fairs. Targeting specific markets, health fairs are designed to reach people who may not have the knowledge or resources to learn about preventative medicine, screening to avoid certain medical issues, or how to find treatment for existing diseases or disorders. Run by hospitals, health care facilities and community organizations, these outreach events are built on a foundation of planning, staffing, education and reinforcement. With good organization, they can make a significant impact in the wellness of a community.

Planning for a health fair can set the tone for how successful it is. The foundation of timing, location and information will determine how many people are reached, how engaged they are and how they respond to the topics being highlighted. Holding a health fair to raise awareness of testing and to provide access to those screening tests on location will require more logistical planning than if the purpose is to deliver information only. Look for accommodations, high traffic areas and locations that will provide foot traffic that has time on their side. It makes no sense to set up a fair where the potential participants are on the go towards commuting to or from work. For rural communities, increased promotional efforts may be needed to draw attendance. Also, timing for rural areas should leverage days where there may be more activity in a given city center.

Staff is the next key to a successful health fair event. Recruiting staff who are gregarious, outgoing and not afraid of rejection will ensure that the time spent on location is maximized. A well planned physical setup will have a hard time enticing participation if the staff doesn’t engage passersby. Taking the languages that are spoken in the community into consideration is also important. Organizers should analyze the demographics of the community they are looking to serve and determine the key languages that are spoken by the predominant cultures. All efforts should be made to present native speakers who will make participants feel comfortable. Familiarity will increase the rate of participation and help deliver the messages properly.

Giveaways and reminders are much more than promotional tools for the organization hosting the health fair. While a promotional product such as a pen may be put to the obvious use of filling out paperwork on the spot, there are even more practical giveaways that tie into the health fair message. A planner with reminder stickers will carry the custom imprint of the hospital or organization, but will have the greater purpose of serving to remind recipients of future follow up testing. For initiatives that raise awareness of self-exams, these tools help keep the message going long after the health fair. Something as simple as a magnet or keychain can go a long way to reminding those who may lead busy lives to stop and think about their well being.

The power of health fairs are rooted in their ability to reach communities that may not have access or understanding of the health issues that are being promoted. By delivering these messages in a familiar, easy to understand format, organizations can increase the likelihood that they will make an impact on those they engage. Promotional handouts and giveaways can extend the life of the message, allowing the health fair to influence beyond the event.