Area residents looking to learn about how to take better care of themselves and keep big-ticket medical bills to a minimum may want to stop by the community room of the Coffee County Administrative Plaza on McArthur Street in Manchester on Saturday.
Healthy Tennessee, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting the benefits of preventative care, will be holding a free health fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m..
Dr. Manish K. Sethi, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who also teaches the subject at Vanderbilt University, is known to patients as “Dr. Manny.”
He founded Healthy Tennessee along with his wife, Maya, an attorney. Sethi, who grew up in Coffee County where his parents were on staff at Harton Regional Medical Center, said holding the health fair in Manchester was like coming home for him.
“I grew up there and I wanted to show some love for the hometown,” he said. “I’m excited about coming home and giving back to the community that was so good to me and my family.”
The health fair will give area residents an opportunity to speak with local physicians, learn about the preventative health-care options offered by local businesses and participate in free health screenings, including blood pressure checks.
All the booths at the health fair have been chosen with an eye toward providing attendees with information they can use to help improve their health as individuals.
Sethi said he loved growing up in Tennessee, but said the state has a lot of work to do when it comes to the health of its residents.
“We are roughly 41st in the nation in terms of health care,” he said. “If we’re not healthy, over time, we will spend more and more on healthcare and less for education, infrastructure and the other important things.”
Sethi said health is a critical issue in the Volunteer State’s future, especially in light of the fact that there are areas in the state where access to doctors and health-care facilities is severely limited.
“Tennesseans who live in rural communities face overwhelming obstacles to obtaining health care. Even if citizens in the rural towns of Tennessee have health insurance oftentimes they must travel long distances to receive care. So what is the answer? Preventative health-care access. That’s why we’re hosting this fair.
“If we can reach out,” and give people with limited access information on how to keep themselves healthy, “we can make a huge difference,” Sethi added. “No one wants to talk about issues like this … but it’s time. I think it’s time that, as a community, we come together and tackle the problems. We all have to face these problems together.”
Sethi said he does not have any expectations in terms of turnout at tomorrow’s health fair. Rather than focusing on the number of people who come through the door, he’s devoting his focus to capturing minds.
“If I can change or educate just one person, then I’m happy with that,” the doctor said.
For more information on Saturday’s event or to learn more about Healthy Tennessee, visit the website at www.myhealthytennessee.com.
Andrea Agardy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.