A health fair provides a central location where members of the public can get useful information, receive health screenings, and interact with health care professionals in an informal environment. This project requires planning a few months in advance, but it will greatly benefit and educate those who cannot afford to pay for health care.
- Recruit volunteers from your church. It will be helpful to have health care providers in your planning team as they can provide helpful insights. You will need reliable team members and volunteers to help you in the following:
- Greet and direct people
- Be translators
- Prepare fliers, banners, posters, handouts etc.
- Contact health care personnel
- Set up and clean up
- Set specific and realistic goals for your health fair. This helps you focus on the specific services you want provide. You might want to provide health screenings, provide participants with preventative care information, or increase awareness of health resources in your community.
- Pick a theme after setting your goals. Use the theme in your publicity.
- Set a location. Consider using your church’s community building/center, gymnasium or parking lot. Having the health fair outdoors may encourage more passersby to attend, but you will need a rain pain.
- Set a budget. Decide if you need to pay health care representatives to come and if you need to rent tables, chairs, and/or tents.
- Decide activities you will have at the fair. Standard activities include information booths, health screening booths, demonstrations, and exhibits.
- Start inviting health care providers (hospitals, clinics, fitness centers, pharmacies, etc.) to partner with you. Invite local chapters of national health organizations and health care professional associations.
- Plan logistics and stay organized. Make a list of participating booths with information about their contacts, booth locations, number of tables and chairs needed, and if access to an electrical outlet is needed.
- Get reliable health information handouts (look at ‘Resources’ below). Gather favors/samples (perfume samples, cosmetics, toothbrushes, stickers for children, breast cancer buttons, etc.) to give out.
- Get the word out. Advertise through the local media. Post flyers with information about time, date, location, services you will provide, and contact information in English and Spanish.
- Two weeks before the event, confirm with volunteers and participating agencies.
- On the day of the event, set up a table for signing-in so that you can compile information for post-event evaluation.
- Position greeters at the door to welcome people at the door, direct them, or answer questions. You can also set up an area for volunteers to serve refreshments.
- Clean up after the event and be sure to thank your volunteers.
- Think outside the box. Consider what your audience needs. For example, if you theme focuses on cardiovascular health, you can include stress reduction presentations or have message therapists demonstrate stress-relief methods.
- It may be helpful to have a “Ask a Nurse”, “Ask a Doctor”, or “Ask a Nutritionist” booth.
- If you are calling a large hospital to recruit health care representatives but do not have contacts, ask for the community affairs or public relations department.
- Health fairs can be fun and festive. Have balloons for decoration and play background music.
Example of National Health Organizations
Health Care Professional Associations
Links for Health Information Handouts