Kaden gets teeth cleaned

Paula Knapp (left) took her son Kaden to the dental clinic at Muscatine Center for Social Action for a checkup. Reem Oweis, a dental resident, offered Kaden tips on using a toothbrush.

MUSCATINE — The Muscatine Center for Social Action will offer free wellness screenings and advice Saturday.

For Scott Dahlke, a program director at the Center, wellness pop-ups like this remind people of the importance of healthcare.

"People don't always think about their health first," Dahlke said. "Especially the people that we serve here. They are worried about other things. Staying at work. Getting a paycheck. Those kinds of things. Where the body goes, the mind goes. Where mind goes, the body goes. So you've got to take care of it all."

In hopes of taking care of more, the Center will be offering a number of services to attendees. Professionals will be available on site to offer dental, vision, mental health, developmental (children years old and younger) screenings and checks on blood sugar and pressure checks. There will also be information regarding nutrition, health insurance, substance abuse and housing assistance programs. 

"These folks may not get any health care whatsoever if we did not offer it," said Bonnie Nichols, another program director in charge of the event. "We're trying to reduce barriers for this coverage. It's on a Saturday, so hopefully people aren't working. And it's free."

Dahlke explained that this wellness fair should stand in contrast to some of the ones he's been to.

"Most of these health fairs that you go to, you are just getting brochures and swag," Dahlke said. "Although we'll have that stuff too, we'll also have professionals here to take care of things, to address things."

Both Dahlke and Nichols emphasized the importance of having a health professional at the fair.

"You can get access to things like blood pressure checks with the cuffs in the pharmacy," Dahlke said. "But to have a professional there, educating them on exactly what causes high blood pressure. To have someone right there that can connect patients to a primary care doctor, I think that is kind of unique."  

"For those folks that don't have a primary care doctor, they will have access to health professionals here," Nichols said. "And they are going to try to connect them with health resources they need."

"Part of our mission is to provide basic healthcare," Nichols said. "Downstairs, we have our dental clinic, we have our vision clinic and so this is helping fulfill that mission."

Dahlke said this is a win for the City of Muscatine. 

"Why not take advantage of a free health service?" Dahlke said. "We are trying to make the community healthier. We don't have the best health outcomes in Muscatine. Why not take a stab at it."

Patients are invited to come by for screening and advice on Saturday, November 11, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at MCSA, 312 Iowa Ave, Muscatine, IA.

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