Thursday, September 05, 2002

NKU spearheads drive to improve health

Low-income residents to get checkups for deadly diseases

By Earnest Winston,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — Northern Kentucky University is teaming with two health care providers to begin offering free health screenings to low-income residents in Northern Kentucky.

   9 a.m.-noon Sept. 21, 28; Oct. 5, 19; Nov. 9; Dec. 7; Health Point Dixie Pike, 1100 Pike St., Covington.
   9 a.m.-noon Oct. 10, 31; Dec. 12; Boone County Health Department, 7505 Burlington Pike, Florence.
   4-7 p.m. Oct. 23; Nov. 12, 19, 26; Dec. 17; Health Point Bellevue, 103 Landmark Drive, Bellevue.
   (Dates are not final for screenings in Grant County.)
        Beginning Sept. 21, NKU, Northern Kentucky Family Health Care Centers Inc. and the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District will screen 1,000 low-income residents for skin, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

        People will also be screened for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and chronic lung disease — the four leading causes of death in Kentucky.

        The health-screening program will be funded through a $47,147 grant awarded by NKU to the Health Screening Community Area Network (Health SCAN).

        Dr. Denise Robinson, director of NKU's master of science program, said nearly a quarter of Kentuckians living below the poverty level have not visited a health care provider in at least five years — if ever.

        She said she is hopeful that Health SCAN will be able to help people who lack access, insurance or financial resources to receive life-saving screenings. Each person, she said, will receive information about their health status, risk factors, and methods to improve their health.

        People will be referred to other health care providers if necessary.

        “Our target counties are Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton. But we're not restricting this to anybody,” said Dr. Cynthia W. Kelly, assistant professor of nursing at NKU.

        “When we look at the statistics, 6.3 percent are below the poverty level in Boone County to a high of 13.1 percent in Grant. Based on Kentucky figures, we estimate that there are probably 70,000 people in this area who have never see a health care provider. ... We know very little about this population.”

        The grant is part of NKU's University-Community Partnership Program.

        “We are using nurse practitioners who are currently practicing in the area. We're also using it as a vehicle for our students. They'll be learning how to take patient histories,” Dr. Kelly said.

        For information about Health SCAN screening, call (859) 572-6535.

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