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UMFK nursing division to host "Spring Into Health" health fair April 20

April 2, 2004

NR04064

The University of Maine at Fort Kent division of nursing will host "Spring Into Health", a campus-wide health fair organized by senior nursing students and the university's Student Nurses Organization, on Tuesday, April 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room.

The event has been planned with a holistic health focus. The mind, body and spirit will be attended to.

Fourteen exhibitors, ranging from the student nurses who will conduct blood pressure and body mass screening to UMFK's Newman Club, presenting on spiritual health, will be on hand to speak with members of the campus community.

"The definitive goal of "Spring Into Health" is to raise awareness of health and well-being on campus," said Erin Voisine, a senior nursing student.

Voisine and her fellow classmates in a healthy communities application course are helping to organize the health fair as part of their curriculum, which includes assessing a community's health, determining health needs or goals for the community, planning interventions, and providing the community with strategies to accomplish health goals or alleviate health problems.

"This year, the senior nursing students decided to assess UMFK's health in an effort to define the campus' health needs and devise ways to improve campus health. The year-long effort will culminate with the "Spring Into Health" event," said Erin Soucy, nursing resource manager. "The health fair targets UMFK faculty, staff and students."

In planning the health fair, student nurses considered the "leading health indicators" as established by "Healthy People 2010", which include physical activity, overweight and obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, responsible sexual behavior, mental health, injury and violence, environmental quality, immunization, and access to healthcare.

Addressing each of the indicators will be several campus and community organizations.

Presenters will include Northern Maine Medical Center's heart health division, UMFK's student health services clinic, and Aroostook Mental Health's drug and alcohol use and abuse prevention program

The St. John Valley Partnership will present on smoking cessation, nutrition and exercise. Local psychologist Jacki Ritz will discuss mental health services available in the region.

Health First will have someone on hand to speak about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, and the Maine State Police will have an officer on hand to discuss prevention of OUI.

Another table will be staffed by representatives of the Aroostook County WIC program, who will explain what financial assistance is available for young families.

Stressing the holistic health picture, other topics covered at the health fair will include herbal medications and vitamins, nuetricueticals, the benefits of Yoga, and a table with health literature and publications.

"As future nurses it is essential that we educate ourselves in ways of preventing health complications before they begin. Many people feel very comfortable asking a nurse questions, and if people have access to a community health nurse, he/she can advise them on the many ways they can increase their quality of health," said student organizer Sarrah Morris.

All members of the UMFK campus community are encouraged to attend the health fair.