Contributed by Betty Rieth
Alaska Health Fair, Inc. is a 37-year-old non-profit organization. Alaska Health Fair was founded on the dream of a physician who believed that the road to longevity rests in healthy lifestyles, which develop, in part, through education and screenings. AHF’s mission is to promote statewide health education and preventative screenings. Our vision is optimal health for all Alaskans. Our core purpose is to promote health and wellness and save lives.
Our health fairs offer free health education, free screenings and the most affordable comprehensive blood tests in Alaska. We deliver around 100 health fairs annually statewide - in larger communities like Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Bethel, Wasilla and also in around 30 smaller communities. We also deliver around 25 worksite health fairs for big and small employers from a variety of industries including oil and gas, financial services, transportation and non-profits.
No other state has a dedicated non-profit like Alaska Health Fair to provide affordable blood tests, free health screenings and free health education on important topics on such a grand scale. It’s all possible because of support from Alaska communities, organizations and hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers.
10,000 to 20,000 people attend our events each year. Our attendance numbers are growing; last spring and fall, we added around 1,000 new clients.
Who attends AHF health fairs and what people think about AHF events?
The following stats are taken from our surveys that we conduct after each event:
• 95% of health fair attendees plan to follow up with a doctor if they learn of a health condition through screenings and tests received at AHF events.
• 59% report they have health insurance. Additional 23% are covered through Medicaid/Medicare.
• 89% report that after attending the Health Fair, they gained a better understanding of some ways they can have healthier behaviors.
Demographically speaking, Alaska Health Fair events attract people of all backgrounds. Most of our clients are financially independent, highly educated and interested in their health. Overall, AHF client profile closely represents the demographics of our state. Here’s a link to some detailed statistics from our health fairs: http://alaskahealthfair.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Summary-Dem-Eval-2016.pdf
Medical Community, Local Non-profits, Volunteers, Volunteer Health Educators
We work with hundreds of medical professionals and representatives of local non-profits, educational institutions, state agencies and other organizations that volunteer thousands of hours at our events and come to our health fairs as exhibitors, health educators and volunteers.
AHF has a staff of just four full-time employees, working from two offices (located in Anchorage and Fairbanks), and heavily relies on volunteers and volunteer site coordinators to organize and deliver health fairs. Exhibitor space is always free at AHF health fairs, and local organizations can educate in their communities on important health topics and help people discover locally-available support and services.
Why do people come to AHF Health Fairs?
Health education and affordable blood tests are the main reasons. We work with PAML, one of the top ranking laboratories in the nation and a leader in innovation, to offer the most affordable comprehensive blood tests in Alaska. Our most popular comprehensive blood chemistry panel consists of 27 panels and costs just $45. People can save hundreds of dollars when they do a comprehensive women’s or men’s wellness package with AHF. We are a non-profit, and our pricing virtually has not changed since 2003.
Current health fair schedule and additional information are available at www.alaskahealthfair.org, or simply call our office at (907) 278-0234.
On Worksite Wellness
Implementing worksite wellness programs has many benefits for employers, big or small:
• Attracting talented workers
• Reducing absenteeism, improving productivity
• Improving employee morale
• Reducing turnover
We offer worksite health fairs and tailor them to help meet client organization’s wellness goals. In partnership with other leading agencies, AHF can offer affordable in-depth training for staff and management on a variety of worksite wellness topics. Most employers that we work with elect to sponsor our comprehensive blood tests for their employees (especially the vitamin D test, which is usually not covered by health insurance). Employers can also send their staff to our office in Anchorage for affordable blood tests. AHF health fairs are turn-key solutions, and we encourage interested organizations to give us a call.
AHF is supported by generous donations from thousands of Alaskans, and also by Alaska Kidney Foundation, United Way agencies, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Golden Valley Electric Foundation, Alaska Commercial Company and North Haven/Winn Residential. 100% of every donation goes to providing services for Alaskans, and 0% is used for any other purpose. If you want to support our work, simply send us a check or call to donate by credit card.
Santa Clause from North Pole just recently visited our office and took advantage of our affordable comprehensive blood tests. If you would like to get more information about Santa’s visit, please let me know. We have pictures too.