‘Doctor Day’ offers free health services

Tuesday, September 16, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

When diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, most people wouldn’t think twice about scheduling regular doctor’s appointments. But the federal government is reminding people today that the best way to combat these diseases is to visit the doctor — even in times of good health.

“Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day,” a program that began two years ago, is being celebrated nationally today. The event is directed toward minority populations. A report by the Missouri Hospital Association shows that minorities have a higher rate of certain chronic diseases and as a result tend to have lower life expectancies than the rest of the population.

“We are trying to encourage people to find a medical home — especially those who have potential of developing a chronic illness,” said Mary Martin, a public health manager for the Columbia/Boone County Health Department and one of the event’s local organizers.

This year’s “Doctor Day” will be held at Centro Latino de Salud, Educacion y Cultura. The only Latino community center in the area, Centro Latino focuses on health, education and culture in mid-Missouri. According to Martin and Eduardo Crespi, director of the Centro Latino, this year’s event will focus primarily on Latin Americans, who are reported to be twice as likely to develop diabetes as other populations.

The event will be held from 10 a. m. to 4 p.m. today. Residents can receive diabetes hypertension screening, HIV testing, counseling and many other health services free of charge. Information will be provided in English and Spanish, and a bilingual staff will be on hand.

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