January 25, 2006
STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR AND EVANSTON COMMUNITY OFFER FREE SCREENINGS
The state’s new mobile health unit stops at the Evanston Police Outpost
EVANSTON, Ill. – Accompanying the Wellness on Wheels van, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, and the Evanston Department of Health and Human Services provided free HIV, diabetes, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings today at the Evanston Police Outpost.
“The wellness van is a critical tool we can use to reach more people who may not be able to access a screening site, who may be high-risk or who may not be able to afford a doctor visit,” said Dr. Whitaker. “The mobile unit brings screenings directly into communities that need services. Making it easier to get screened will undoubtedly increase the number of people who are screened, and hopefully, increase the survival rate of people diagnosed with HIV or diabetes.”
About 16 million people in the United States have diabetes, a serious, life-long disorder that is, as yet, incurable. About one-third of these people don’t know they have diabetes and are not under medical care. High cholesterol is similar to diabetes in the fact that many people may not know they have it. Anyone can have high blood cholesterol; there are no warning signs. The only way to find out about your cholesterol level is to have your health care professional perform a lipoprotein profile test.
“This type of combined screening event allows us to reach a variety of our residents out in the community where they live. We are grateful for the Illinois Department of Public Health resources and support that make it possible,” said Jay Terry, director of the Evanston Department of Health and Human Services.
The Wellness on Wheels van is a mobile health unit and component of the BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) project. The van travels throughout the state to provide a variety of health screenings including Hepatitis B and C, HIV, prostate, pap smears and blood pressure and cholesterol tests to underserved communities.
On September 15 th, Governor Blagojevich announced the launch of BASUAH and his commitment to invest $2.5 million dollars in the initiative. BASUAH focuses on education, prevention and testing and targets African Americans because of the disproportionate number of HIV cases reported within that community. In 2004, African-Americans made up more than half of the newly reported HIV cases in Illinois, while they only represent 15 percent of the state’s population.
IDPH partners with local health departments, hospitals and clinics to provide the services in a given community. IDPH provides the van and a driver and schedules the unit through the Center for Minority Health Services while the local health department, hospital or clinic provides medical staff.
If you would like more information on the Wellness on Wheels program, you may call Doris Turner in the Center for Minority Health at 217-785-4311.
You can find all the information you need about HIV/AIDS on www.basuah.org. The Web site provides statistics, information about places to get tested statewide and much more.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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