The Schottenstein Center was converted into a festival-like medical expo for the medical center’s first annual Healthy Community Day. Credit: Eric Stoneman | Lantern Reporter

Darrell Gray, a gastroenterologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, spent his Sunday next to a 20-foot-long colon.

Gray guided people through a large, inflatable organ for about four hours, teaching them about colon health and the types of tests available to them.

“It’s really an innovative way to teach and engage people,” Gray said.

Normally an arena for sports and musicians,the Schottenstein Center was converted into a festival-like medical expo for the medical center’s first annual Healthy Community Day.

Healthy Community Day is an event hosted by the medical center with the primary goal of engaging local Columbus residents with health care and the people who provide that care. And as Gray pointed out, the doctors there are in T-shirts instead of the typical white coat.

“We’ve had a similar event out at the Near East Side community for 18 years, and so we really wanted to see how we could grow the event and have a second location,” said Beth NeCamp, chief marketing and communications officer for the medical center.

Throughout the event area, there were booths with resources related to various health issues, ranging from infant health care to how to quit smoking; from dietary consultation to battling addiction.

“We really tried to align what we offer with the six problem areas of Central Ohio … what the most prevalent challenges are in our community,” NeCamp said.

One of the most prominently advertised aspects of Healthy Community Day, Gray said, was the opportunity for free health screenings, so people who attend the event can have different aspects of their health — such as blood pressure or body mass index — measured to make more informed health care decisions based on official evaluations.

Doctors try to engage people about their health, but Gray said people might not go to clinics.
“This really provides a venue, a comfortable environment, for people to talk about important health issues,” Gray said.

There were stations for kids to get balloon animals and face paint. Several special events took place during the day, such as a visit from Brutus and a brief fitness class led by instructors from Divine Impact Fitness in Gahanna, Ohio.

Healthy Community Day sets out to engage Columbus residents by showing them the health-care resources that they have available.

“By them coming in here, we hope to engage them, to spark something in them so they’ll come and seek us for care,” Gray said.

The Engaged Scholars logo accompanies stories that feature and examine research and teaching partnerships formed between The Ohio State University and the community (local, state, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. These stories spring from a partnership with OSU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The Lantern retains sole editorial control over the selection, writing and editing of these stories.