By Sam Le
Northwest Asian Weekly
With thousands of Vietnamese community members coming together to celebrate Tết at the Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion, organizers hosted a comprehensive health fair on Jan. 26 and 27. Dedicated to serving the members of the community, this year’s health fair was expanded to two days of the celebration and inclusive for all participants.
“Tet in Seattle Health Fair started five years ago by Ashley Nguyen, who at the time was a registered nurse at Swedish Medical,” said Ly Huynh, one of the organizers. “The health fair has grown, and has tripled from last year.”
This year, the fair offered free screenings and services for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, flu shots, chiropractic care, and more. Included with these services and heavily emphasized was the access to mental health services, with the Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS), a key API community partner.
Huynh said, “A big part of our goal is to get community members checked into health care and provide a space for community members to be comfortable by providing Vietnamese interpreters and familiar faces in the community, such as ACRS and the Vietnamese Health Board.”
One of the key reasons for the health fair success stem from the active participation of students, health professionals, and organizations.
“I learned about volunteering at the health fair through my student organization, Seattle University Student Nurses Association — we are doing vital signs screenings. I wanted to get involved with my community this year and show up for my people,” said Kristine Dao, a third-year nursing student at Seattle University. “I want to be more than just a student nurse and to be active in spreading awareness and opportunities with other students and the community.”
Student volunteers from Seattle University and University of Washington undergraduate and graduate health programs volunteered in both the capacities of organizing the health fair and providing community members with services.
Furthermore, professionals volunteered their time to provide the flu shots, dentistry needs, and mammograms.
“Any health care organizations or individuals who have any health education built into their mission and vision should share that with the community to increase awareness and prevention,” shared My Linh Nguyen, the director of the clinical operations at the Vietnam Health Clinic and representative of Bartell Drugs and Pharmacy.
“With the Vietnamese community, we always try to incorporate health fairs at many levels, as we are always involved and wanting to share and give back to the community. This health fair is one way we allow our communities to learn about health care, whether it is medical, dental, or vision care,” said Nguyen.