State Leaders Hold Community Health Forum

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- State leaders joined residents in Fort Smith for a community health forum, discussing the health issues that impact Sebastian County.

"It's an opportunity to provide information to the community," ShaRhonda Love, director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. "It's a back and forth discussion. We want to hear from the community just like we want them to know about our resources."

Some community members see that and one resident said she's hoping to learn more about helping others.

"Simple things like the dentist or going to the doctor if you have the flu and you have no insurance," resident Shirl Page said. "This is something that sparked me to see what I can do to guide people in the direction to get the assistance they need."

That assistance is something Love said the commission can provide.

"Services are preventative screenings for chronic conditions like diabetes, hyper tension, heart disease," Love said.

Screenings help decrease the risks for chronic diseases, so the group is hoping more people become aware.

"If you are aware that you have that disease, you can go to a doctor and get early treatment," Love said.

State Representative, George McGill was also at the event to help ensure health equality in the area. He said he sees issues like obesity and health problems stemming from tobacco use.

"We, in the Legislature, recognize the importance of the health of our citizens," McGill said. "If we want to attract major manufacturers to come to our city and our state, we need a healthy workforce."

While the health commission is directed toward minority groups, the director said the services are open to helping everyone.

Other groups that spoke with guests Thursday (Jan. 18) night included UAMS, My Arkansas Insurance and the Valley Behavioral Health System.

AMHC Commissioner, Dr. William Greenfield was the keynote speaker at the event. Dr. Greenfield is an associate professor and division director for UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

For more information about the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, click here.