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Making Colorado healthier for 40 years

9Health Fair is celebrating 40 years of providing Coloradans with access to important preventive health screenings and education with 100 health fair locations across the state this April.
Credit: 9Health Fair

9HEALTH FAIR - Over the last four decades, more than 2 million lives in Colorado have been impacted by the 9Health Fair. 

What started in 1980 as an innovative way to give people access to lab tests is just as valuable today. As health care costs and confusion rise, 9Health Fairs remain affordable, accessible and convenient.

“It’s important for everyone to have access to preventive health screenings that are vital to maintaining good health,” 9Health CEO Gary Drews said. “Attending a 9Health Fair can provide peace of mind. When you receive your results, you will know where you stand with your health and can make important choices to take ownership of your health.”

The history of 9Health Fair

In 1979 it was a very innovative idea to offer lab tests direct to the consumer. Physician John F. Brensike, with the National Institute of Health, was traveling the country in the late 1970s when he observed a high-level of interest for health screening services. He noted very few screenings were available and the quality varied. More importantly, there was no mechanism to provide health education and medical follow-up to the community.

Dr. Brensike was passionate about promoting preventative health maintenance. He established the National Health Screening Council for Volunteer Organizations (NHSCVO). Through this organization, the health fair concept was born and presented to interested communities across the nation.

In Colorado, the president of KBTV Channel 9 (currently 9NEWS) recognized the value to the community. 9NEWS provided financial and media support to launch the first 9Health Fair. In the first year, there were 40 different fairs and 55,000 people attended. In the second year, the number of 9Health Fair sites more than tripled to 150. It’s estimated that $8 million of free health screenings were provided in 1981.

This year, there are 100 9Health Fairs planned across the state. To find a location near you or to register online, click here.

What is a 9Health Fair and who should attend?

9Health Fair is for everyone. The mission of 9Health is prevention and to reach as many people as possible to help them take ownership of their health. No matter who you are, your 9Health Fair results could help you detect something early enough to make a change and add years to your life. 

Even if you have insurance, attending a 9Health Fair provides more information than your primary care provider may typically order. The co-pay to make a doctor’s visit often costs more than attending a 9Health Fair. In addition to affordable screenings, like blood chemistry, you can take advantage of a variety of free screenings. 

If you have a critical or alert out-of-range value in your lab results, you will get a call within 24-72 hours from a 9Health medical volunteer. 9Health medical professionals will recommend what follow-up care to seek out, and help you find resources if you don’t already have a primary care physician. 

Today, 9Health is developing a complete prevention program that gives you education, tools, and motivation to take health-positive steps every day.

9Health earns endorsements 

The Medical Advisory Committee (MAC)exclusive to 9Health, is comprised of Colorado’s top healthcare providers and professionals. These notable and experienced individuals provide high-quality and evidence-based health screenings to residents in Colorado. 

The implementation of the MAC has contributed to endorsements for 9Health from the Colorado Medical Society, the Colorado Nurses Association, and the Colorado Health and Hospital Association.

9Health Fair continues, thanks to volunteers

9Health would not exist and be able to provide the service it does to the community without thousands of volunteers, including health care professionals who donate their time to help advance health in Colorado. 

“40 years is a long time for any business to operate, let alone a non-profit organization that relies on the community for donations, grants, and sponsorships to keep going,” Drews said. “It’s really a great accomplishment and I hope everyone will come out to a health fair and support this 40th anniversary.”

Health care professionals are on-hand at every fair to offer assistance and advice to participants to decide which health screenings are appropriate for them. Each health fair offers affordable lab screenings, and many locations offer additional health screenings at no cost. This year, 9Health will offer two new screenings, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), for heart health, and blood type along with its standard offerings. For the list of screenings available at all health fairs, click here.

Each 9Health Fair site offers a variety of free screenings such as blood pressure, breast exams, prostate/testicular, oral, hearing, foot, skin and more. These screenings vary by location. Select fairs also offer free health screenings for children.

If you are looking to give back to your community, 9Health is always looking for skilled medical and non-medical volunteers. Click here to learn more and see the opportunities available.

Community partners help 9Health thrive

In addition to 9NEWS, there have been key community partners that have supported and volunteered with 9Health since the beginning, including the Colorado National Guard, the Lions Club, and Quest Diagnostics. 

“It’s really a testament to what is possible when a community comes together for a common, important goal,” added Drews.

Check out ways to support 9Health and its mission to give everyone in Colorado access to preventive health education, screenings, tools and community.

Year-round health education

 “As 9Health celebrates its 40th year of providing free and affordable health screenings and moves into the next 40, we have developed year-round preventive health education, tools and community to serve any and all Coloradoans every day,” said Drews. “Our intention is to empower individuals to improve their health through prevention.”

As part of this new initiative, everyone who registers for a 9Health Fair online this spring will receive access to their personalized health dashboard, or results (dashboard available in the fall of 2019; participants will still get results within 2-4 weeks of attending). The dashboard will show you all your health screening results and give you recommendations for further action based on your result.

“It’s one thing to have the knowledge, but the real difference maker is changing our behavior to healthier actions. And that’s difficult for most of us – but also the most important,” explained Drews.

9Health also offers objective, unbiased health education in different media such as the Just for the Health of It blog and the weekly show on Facebook, called Health Happens, where they get the answers to your health questions and objective information from experts across Colorado.

You can’t take care of your loved ones if you don’t take care of yourself. Attend a 9Health Fair and own your health!

9Health saves lives and helps improve living

Each year, thousands of people take health into their own hands and attend a 9Health Fair totaling nearly 5,000 fairs and over 2 million lives during the 40 years of service to Colorado. Nearly 80,000 people have received a call from one of the 9Health medical professionals telling them that they have a critical or alert level in their blood work. Many of these people are made aware of a serious health issue and get to care because of the knowledge. 

Greg’s story is just one of the many every year:

“My wife and I have been going to 9Health Fair for many years in several different towns in Colorado, so it plays a big part in our lives. In April of 2003, we went again to have our annual blood screening but this time mine came back a little different. My PSA number came in a little high with a suggestion to make an appointment with my doctor. With further evaluation, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had no previous symptoms. I was given several options but at the age of 51, surgery was the best for me. As you can see, 9Health Fair saved my life. My family and I are so grateful for the services available to all of our communities. 9Health Fair is great and I am looking forward to many more 9Health Fairs.”

Click here to read more stories testimonials.

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