By Mary O’KEEFE
The Armenian American Medical Society recently sponsored the Glendale Health Festival at the Glendale Civic Center. This was the fourth year the society has brought its free medical clinic to Glendale.
“Our [organization’s] mission statement is to help our community and help the community abroad,” said Dr. Manuel Momjian, chairman for the Glendale Health Festival and vice president of the Armenian American Medical Society.
Traditionally the AAMS did most of its work internationally with many trips to Armenia where the need is great, but members started seeing a trend in America in their own communities that more and more people needed help.
“Over the last four years, we have switched gears and see that there is really a need in our community,” Momjian said.
The civic event reached out to people of all races and backgrounds. The goal was to offer health screenings to as many people as possible and to educate them on healthy living.
The society partnered with other organizations that are well known in the community for meeting medical needs. The Northwest Glendale Lions Club helped with eye examinations, and USC School of Dentistry provided dental screenings.
Glendale Healthy Kids also joined to help with children’s examineations.
“This was the first time we have partnered with the Armenian American Medical Society,” said Sharon Townsend-Roth, CEO of Glendale Healthy Kids. Glendale Healthy Kids had held its own medical outreach in the past. Roth said GHK enjoyed working with the AAMS so much that it will come back again next year.
“Our main goal is to provide as much free medical service for those under-insured or those who are not insured at all,” Townsend-Roth said.
The festival hosted over 1500 people, she added.
“It was packed,” she said.
“There were a lot of different organizations that helped,” Momjian said.
He said that the problems that the AAMS identified through its research are not uncommon.
“Our problems are with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes,” he said.
The staff offered free blood screening and was able to rule out disease for some attendees, but for some others who were in jeopardy, the staff advised on what they needed to do.
Those who came to the event were educated not only about being proactive in their health care but were also given information on local health clinics that could continue to see them after the event.
“For children, we saw [the greatest need] with dental [care] and flu shots,” said Townsend-Roth.
Health fair organizers wanted to take the worry and fear away from many attendees who had not seen a doctor in a while because of cost or concern. So to make the day more relaxed, in addition to the medical examinations and information there was free food and entertainment by the Hoover High School Choir, Toll Middle School Cheer team and competition dance team and the Jambazian dance group.
By the end of the day, the event staff had administered 352 flu shots, performed 700 blood tests, provided 75 vouchers for mammograms and gave 625 vision screenings, of which 420 failed, earning a consult with an optometrist.
There was also osteoporosis testing, body mass index readings, scoliosis testing, a triage with a nurse and private consults with doctors including cardiologists and an internist.
“For [event staff], it was a fantastic event,” said Momjian.
The AAMS foots the bill for the event through fundraising, donations and partnering with other organizations. He sees the need in the community and wants the event to get bigger.
“Hopefully we will make a difference,” he said.