Capitol Drugs Hosts Diverse Sample Saturday & Health Fair

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Capitol Drugs / Power Zone hosted a diverse crowd at their semi-annual Sample Saturday & Health Fair in West Hollywood, on Saturday, October 27. The event was co-sponsored by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Cedars Sinai and the City of West Hollywood.

Participating health and fitness organizations were on hand to answer questions and offer attendees the opportunity to sample products, learn about services, and take advantage of items at a discounted price, as well as get expert advice from health, fitness and nutrition specialist. Attendees learned about preventive care, holistic medicine and new innovations in sports medicine, self-care and aesthetics.

Russell Ybarra, the patient advocate at Capitol Drugs was happy to welcome various organizations, some who were participants at the health fair for the first time.

One of those new vendors was The Maternal Child & Adolescent Center for infectious diseases and virology at LAC=USC Medical Center (MCA). According to Ybarra, it is the first time that an organization specializing in women’s health has participated at the event.

“This event is great,” MCA’s Guadalupe Morales-Avendano, PhD, PsyD, told WEHO TIMES. “It’s my first time doing it and it’s like, wow! We have gotten a super positive response. We are here today sharing information on CMA. We treat women who are HIV positive and offer their families healthcare. We offer complete health services like medical, gynecology, social workers, psychology, psychiatry–everything in one place. We care for low income people and we specialize in mothers who are HIV positive and pregnant and are giving birth at the medical center. We check the babies to ensure they are born negative and we have the study that follows these babies from the day they are born, until they are 18-years old, to monitor that they continue to be negative. Our clinic is open to everyone. We see their partners and families. We are able to see them, even if they don’t have insurance.”

MCA has provided services for over 1300 HIV infected and affected women, men and children since its inception in July 1988. For more information on MCA, visit: keck.usc.edu/maternal-child-and-adolescent-adult-center

LINX LA, a UCLA research study that is currently testing an app-based HIV program for African American gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM), also participated at the event for the first time. LINX LA is a technology platform dedicated to addressing HIV stigma through building a safe, private social support network for people living with HIV. The web-based app provides not only a space for community and conversation, but it also includes informational posts and community-driven content that links people with social services, legal resources, and community events. LINX LA was created by and for young, black, gay and bisexually-identified men living with HIV.

“We’re looking for young adults who are at risk of getting HIV or living with HIV in the Los Angeles county,” said Maynard Hearns, who is a LINX coach and case manager at APLA Health, “This study is actually for African Americans in the Los Angeles County. We’re trying to get them more engaged in their health. The study we are doing is looking to create a digital safe space for HIV positive black men in L.A.”

“There is a lot of community here,” he added. “One of the reasons why I decided to get involved in this is because I was raised by health professionals. I come from a health background and now I work with doctors who are engaged with what I feel are some of the most hidden populations in Los Angeles and some of the more at-risk populations for HIV exposure and these groups are most vulnerable to stigma. We offer a variety of services through our case management and social working legal team to get whatever needs they need to be addressed. We’re looking to meet the health needs and holistic needs of each person.”

To learn more about the study, visit http://www.linxlastudy.com/

An organization that is no stranger to the health fair is Cedars Sinai. It does the event twice a year at Capitol Drugs. It brings a variety of different health resources and information. That weekend brought sugar beverage education and challenged attendees to “re-think what they drink.”

“A lot of people don’t realize the added sugars in beverages,” said Program Director for the COACH for Kids and Their Families program at Cedars-Sinai, Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPNP. “Most people know there’s added sugar in cakes and cookies and pies, that’s pretty obvious, but they don’t recognize that there are added sugars in a lot of drinks. We are educating people on how to read the label and how to look at the grams. Containers say the number of grams of sugar and we’re teaching people to divide the grams by four to get the number of teaspoons. Water is the best drink because there are no added sugars. We’re just providing education and asking people to re-think their drink. We’re getting a great response.”

Cedars Sinai also provided cancer awareness information to help men recognize that they have a prostate and they need to have it checked.

“African American men have a high prevalence of prostate cancer and they’re actually required to be screened earlier,” Pauley added. “Screening is at 50, but if you’re an African American man, it’s like 40-45.”

Cedars was also there to provide information about their transgender health program, which started at Cedars in March of 2017. It is one of two academic medical centers in the West to offer gender reassignment surgeries. Urologist, Dr. Maurice Garcia, who leads the Transgender Surgery and Health Program at Cedars was there to answer any question on transgender services.

To learn more, visit https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/transgender-surgery-and-health.html 

The John Wesley Community Health (JWCH) Mobile Testing Unit was also a returning participant at the health fair. The JWCH’s Mobile Testing Unit is a 2-exam room medical unit that provides co-morbidity testing services including rapid HIV testing, hepatitis B, C and STI screenings. Referrals for hepatitis vaccination services are provided at various sites in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Other booths included the Gay and Lesbian Center, APLA Health, El Projecto Del Barrio Inc, the City of West Hollywood, My 12 Step Store, Healthy Spot and many more.

To learn more about Capitol Drugs and their Sample Saturday & Health Fair, visit: https://capitoldrugs.com/.

Photos by Paulo Murillo

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings close to 20 years of experience in LGBT media and more than two decades as a West Hollywood resident. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. Murillo’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He was a contributor to LGBT magazine IN Los Angeles. He is known for the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, in which he covered breaking news and local events in the City of West Hollywood. His recent work has been published in the Los Angeles Blade and his articles, essays and photographs can also be seen on the pages of THE FIGHT Magazine. He started “The Share” feature for THE FIGHT, which spotlights members of the Los Angeles recovery community who share about their sober journey. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com

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