MARQUETTE - More than 400 women from across Marquette County made their way through wintry weather to Bell Hospital Saturday for a few hours of health and wellness education.
The hospital held its fifth annual Women's Health Expo from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., welcoming women with several different workshops, health screenings and a little pampering.
"It's been a great day of learning for women from all over the county," said Bell's Vice President of Organizational Development Ruth Solinski, as the day wound to a close.
Northern Michigan University nursing student Ashley Davidson , left, takes the blood pressure of NMU nursing professor Kristi Robinia. Several students from NMU’s nursing department volunteered to perform health screenings during Bell Hospital’s fifth annual Women’s Health Expo. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Solinski said the expo was returning to its roots in its fifth running, focusing more on healthy living than it had recent years.
"We really tried to get back to the basics of health," Solinski said. "In years past, we've done things like paraffin dips and manicures, and we really wanted to get to talking about health and health-related topics."
The day usually brings hundreds of women to the hospital, Solinski said, offering them a chance to partake in free health screenings, including exams for bone density, breast health and pulmonary function.
The health screenings were conducted by nursing students, mostly from Northern Michigan University, who volunteered their Saturday mornings to help out.
Ashley Davidson, a senior nursing major at Northern, said the expo was a chance for women to learn more about their own health in a friendly atmosphere.
"(It's about) mainly education," Davidson said. "Informing women to promote good health, healthy lifestyle choices."
JoAnn Betts, a retired registered nurse and volunteer coordinator of the day's health screenings, said the screenings were a key component of the expo.
"It's important because a lot of the women don't have health insurance, or won't take the time to even go and have it done," Betts said. "So when they're here, everything is free, readily available to them, and they don't have to take a lot of time."
Women could also sit in on one of 19 workshops held throughout the day. Three different healthy cooking workshops were offered by the Marquette Food Co-op, and several medical care providers held workshops on sexual health, heart disease, stress management and many other topics.
"The topics are content rich," Solinski said. "It's an opportunity (for women) to ask questions about their personal health or the health of their family directly with our providers."
New to the expo this year was a chance to tour the hospital's newly accredited breast center, which recently earned the certification from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
Solinski said the hospital was pleased to be able to offer the tours, as well as free breast exams to any participants.
A number of local vendors also participated in the event, offering women information on healthy living, and donating health and beauty supplies which were raffled off throughout the day.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal. net.