Community members lined up out the door Saturday morning to participate in Methodist Hospital’s Screenings & Smoothies Spring Health Fair. The annual event invites the community to learn more about their individual health and the services available to them through Methodist Hospitals. And it all starts with a free smoothie!
“Today we’re serving tropical smoothies - banana, lemon and strawberry smoothies,” Chef Manager Tiffany Harper said. “It’s a healthy option for the health fair.”
The free smoothies were served with a recipe sheet to inspire a personalized approach to portable nutrition.
“We’re doing fruit smoothies today because it’s a great way to get in your daily servings of fruit,” Dietician Jelena Kolundzic said. “Smoothies are for every day. Depending on what you add to your smoothies and which recipes you choose, they can act as a meal replacement, an on-the-go snack, and they can help you recover from exercise. Smoothies are great for both losing and gaining weight. It depends on which smoothies you choose, but the right smoothie can help you achieve your health goals.”
Hospital experts manned booths around Pavilion B to provide free screenings and personally relevant education. The first booth by the door was designated for healthcare information, educating attendees about the ways Methodist Hospitals can help with coverage through HiP2.0 or ACA.
“Community health is our responsibility,” Marketing Director Linda Hadley said. “Community education events help us get the word out that we’re here to help them take better care of themselves.”
From blood tests to BMI and blood pressure screening, attendees were treated to a full offering of preventative screenings.
“When all the hospitals in Lake County did their community needs assessment, diabetes was the number one health issue that was identified. It’s throughout the county,” Certified Diabetic Educator Carol Sakelaris said. “There are identifiable risks, so we’re trying to raise awareness for people who are pre-diabetic in order to help them prevent Type 2 diabetes.”
The highlight of the Smoothie & Screenings Spring Health Fair was the tour of Methodist Hospital’s newly upgraded Gamma Knife Center. Since 2003, Methodist Hopsitals have been the only Gamma Knife Center in Northwest Indiana. This year, they unveiled new Gamma Knife Perfexion technology.
“We’ve always had a strong neuroscience institute, and we’ve had a Gamma Knife since 2003,” Hadley said. “It’s one of the technologies Methodist was the first to have.”
“Perfexion is an upgrade from what we had,” said Laurel Valentino, Director for Neuroscience Institute of Methodist Hospitals. “We have a wider range of patients that we can treat, and it treats them very quickly.”
“All the literature shows that it’s the gold standard. There are other treatments that other places can do, but this one is so precise that it saves tissue around the affected area that we’re treating so there’s no spread,” Valentino said. “What they’ve found is that patients who receive this type of treatment have less neurological deficits later in life.”
The Gamma Knife is, in fact, not a knife at all. It is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment that uses gamma rays to target affected areas, protecting the surrounding tissues. Conditions treated by the Gamma Knife Perfexion technology include single or multiple metastatic brain tumors, vascular malformations, malignant brain tumors such as gliomas, benign brain tumors including meningiomas, acoustic neuromas and pituitary adenomas. Facial pain known as Trigeminal Neuralgia can also be treated by the Gamma Knife.
“We want people to see the machine so they’re not afraid of it,” Valentino said. “We can actually treat them and have them pain-free without medication. A physicist, a neurosurgeon, and a radiation oncologist work together to make the plan and then we do the treatment. Patients are usually here one day, and then they can go home.”
Smoothies & Screenings welcomed the community to tour Methodist Hospital Southlake’s facilities, provided free screenings and education and topped off the experience with a free, refreshing smoothie. The event was built around the idea of community health, shining a light on the effects of lifestyle on individual health.
“Lifestyle changes can have the biggest impact on our health,” Valentino said, “and this event provides the encouragement to take those steps toward a healthier lifestyle.”