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VALLEY ROUNDUP | San Fernando

Hundreds Attend Annual Health Fair

October 09, 2000|GRACE E. JANG

Claudia Garcia never thought her shoulder problems could lead to anything major. She learned otherwise Sunday.

The San Fernando resident was one of hundreds who received a free medical checkup at the 10th annual Santa Rosa Health Fair. Some checked their blood pressure, some had their teeth examined, and some, like Garcia, got a chiropractic once-over.

"It's off," said Sunland chiropractor Roderick Chapman, as he checked the alignment of Garcia's shoulders and spine. "You need to get this fixed. If you let it go, the discs in the vertebrae can degenerate and cause arthritis."

Dismayed, but grateful for the early warning, Garcia said she would visit a chiropractor sometime this week.

For many, their annual visit to the fair, held at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, is the only time they receive health care. Language barriers, low income and a lack of information keep some residents from receiving regular exams, fair coordinators said.

"Some people in our community really bank on this fair every year," said Connie Cruz, a registered nurse who helped to begin the project. "They use us as clinics."

However, some activists have tried to increase health awareness through programs such as Latino Health Promoters, which started two years ago.

Deborah Benada, a registered nurse with the Santa Rosa project since its 1991 inception, said Latino Health Promoters' work has led to fewer people attending the Santa Rosa fair.

"The promoters are out there every month, informing people and providing support groups," Benada said.

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