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Meridian in the News

2012 Fun Fair Re-cap

Aug 27

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Monday, August 27, 2012  RssIcon

On a mildly hot Saturday afternoon in August, about 3,000 visitors gathered outside the Suzanne Gresham Center on Muncie’s west side for the fifth annual Fun Fair, held by Meridian Health Services.

All manner of bouncy castles, games, and even a dunk tank entertained the crowd as many of them took advantage of free health tests and services offered inside.

On stage were singer Seth Cook, PRIDE, the Cornerstone Belly Dancers, and Muncie’s Children’s Ballet.

Blood pressure screenings, weight and height measurements, heart checks, vision tests, photo IDs for kids were available to the long lines of parents, kids, and grandkids.
Dr. Sarfraz Khan, medical director and vice president of medical affairs, Meridian Health Services, said he always enjoys attending the event. He first began working at Meridian in 2006.
The event also serves another purpose, though.

“Most important, people can bring their children and their elders, and the stigma that was attached to psychiatry for so many years, it goes away,” Dr. Khan said. “They realize that these people are like us, and they can come and get the help they need.”

That idea – “whole person” health – is the current call to arms for Meridian.

“Studies had started telling us that patients who have mental illness tend to die 20 or 25 years earlier than the general population,” he added. “This was what caused us to change from community mental health care to ‘whole person’ health. And it has been very successful.”

Also at the Fun Fair was Eileen Moore, social worker and director of the Child Advocacy Center. She mentioned that the center’s service – taping child victims of abuse in a controlled setting – has resulted in an 80 percent acceptance of case by county prosecutors.

The national average is 20 percent.

“Just getting prosecutors to sometimes accept the case, that’s the major task. And once they see the children on camera answering questions without prompting, that’s what causes them to accept.”

Among the groups offering information at the event were Healthy Families, Indiana Post-Adoption Services, LifeStream, Jobs for America’s Graduates Indiana, Little Red Door, Youth Works and Indiana Resource Center.

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