The Sample Saturday & Health Fair returned to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood this past Saturday, March 23. Capital Drugs / Power Zone partnered with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Cedars Sinai and the City of West Hollywood to bring the health and fitness community together to provide information on various non-profit organizations, medical providers and local businesses.
The atmosphere was festive during a mostly sunny Saturday afternoon. Participants spun wheels, did pushups and pull down challenges to win prizes. They were treated to free protein shakes at Power Zone and were able to sample products, learn about services, and walk away with free samples.
The biggest advantage of the Sample Saturday & Health Fair was the access to expert advice from health, fitness and nutrition experts. Attendees learned about preventive care, holistic medicine and new innovations in sports medicine, self-care and aesthetics. Business booths offered free samples of energy bars, various protein powders and pre-workout energy drinks. Bros Brothers Pizza also gave out free samples of pizza.
Cedars Sinai Medical Center returned to answer questions about their services. Dr Stephany Tran, one of the physicians for primary care at Cedars, was there to answer questions about HIV, transgender hormone therapy and a she provided information about anal cancer prevention.
“I think the event is wonderful,” She told WEHO TIMES. “It’s so great to see the city of West Hollywood out today. I think this is a good way to reach out to the community and offer the different services that we have available. I’m representing Cedars Sinai and answering questions about STD screenings. People are learning how to take care of themselves better from a primary care standpoint. The question that is coming up the most is, ‘Can I get my HPV shot?’ I tell them that the guideline for the age of those seeking it is 45 now, but it will only be covered till age 26 by your insurance company. That’s what’s on people’s mind today.”
Human papilloma virus vaccines are vaccines that prevent infection by certain types of human papilloma virus. Available vaccines protect against either two, four, or nine types of HPV. All vaccines protect against at least HPV type 16 and 18 that cause the greatest risk of cervical cancer.
APLA was among the tables providing pamphlets with information on various forms of resources and benefits around housing and other services that APLA offers. “It’s a great day to be here,” said Javier who was manning the APLA table. “I’m happy to be here to provide information about mental health, dental, medical and the different services we provide. I think the most important topic that we are discussing today is housing for anybody. We are here to provide information and are grateful people are stopping by.”
The sober community took part as well. The West Hollywood Project and Tarzana Treatment Center were present to provide information on various recovery resources and services. Local recovery gift and book store, My 12 Step Store distributed literature and inspirational postcards to those interested in the healthy aspect of sobriety.
It is also worth mentioning that The Wesley Health Center JWCH Institute brought their mobile clinic to the Sample Saturday & Health Fair to conduct free HIV and STD screenings. Shirell Caldwell, the senior community health worker at Wesley, conducted 10 HIV screenings that day.
“I’ve been with Wesley for ten years,” She said. “I love my job. We provide HIV testing, which is a rapid HIV one-minute test. We link clients to services and show them where they need to go. We also offer STD testings, which are optional. We provide gonorrhea and chlamydia testing. We also test for hepatitis B, C and syphilis through blood work. Those results are not available for about seven days. We follow up with the clients and call them whether it’s positive or negative. We provide condoms and offer services or link them to services like housing, mental health, medical services, educational services and we do collaborate with other agencies. Our clients are very appreciative. We soothe their anxieties and answer all their questions. People want to know if there is a cure for AIDS and I tell them the closest thing we have to a cure is PrEP. It’s all about prevention, prevention prevention. What I like the most about Wesley is that they are very accommodating to the homeless. It doesn’t matter if they have insurance, they are not discriminatory to the homeless population. They’re also great to their employees.”
The Sample Saturday & Health Fair is the longest running health fair in West Hollywood. For more information, visit the Capitol Drugs website at: http://capitoldrugs.com/.
Photos by Paulo Murillo