After a one-year absence, the National Institutes of Health will put on a massive neighborhood health fair this weekend.
Sponsored by the NIH Office of Community Liaison, the Share the Health fair is an opportunity for Washington area residents to see and experience the work, technology and grounds that make up the NIH campus at 9000 Rockville Pike in Bethesda. Free to the public, Share the Health will feature exhibits from the 27 institutes and centers of NIH.
The event, which includes children's activities, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Natcher Conference Center, Building 45, at 45 Center Dr. on the NIH campus.
"We do the best health care here," said Thomas Gallagher, director of the liaison office. "I would love for people to know that the best chance for a long, healthy life resides right here in our research."
With 33 scheduled workshops and presentations, Share the Health will cover several areas key to healthy living.
Richard J. Hodes, director of the NIH Center on Aging, will talk about exercises that work for all ages, and Margaret Richard, exercise guru and host of PBS-TV's "Body Electric," will give exercise demonstrations.
Other topics include relaxation techniques, herbal medicine, advances in the prevention and treatment of stroke, racial and ethnic health disparities, pain management and sleep disorders.
"This year's agenda is based [largely] on the year 2000 requests from the community," said Jennie Kirby, community relations specialist for the liaison office. The health fair, which began in 1998, was canceled last year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Among the exhibitions, the latest medical technology will be on display at the fair, and an Internet resource room will showcase Web sites that feature reliable health information.
"The local community wants access to researchers and scientists," Kirby said, noting that NIH is trying to reach a broad range of people.
Some of the seminars will be presented in Spanish. Carlos A. Zarate, a physician and chief of the Mood Disorders Research Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, will give a presentation on the institute's pilot initiative in Hispanic research. In addition, there will be a seminar on MEDLINEplus, the National Library of Medicine's Web-based consumer health information source, which has been translated into Spanish.
In making plans for the health fair, NIH made a point not to forget children. Kids' events include a noon performance by Kids on the Block, an educational puppet troupe that helps children understand disability issues, and a show featuring a skeletal model with explanations about bones. For preteens, there will be a seminar on acne and ways to combat it.
Although the fair is free, registration is required for the seminars and workshops. NIH officials encourage early registration because some seminars fill up fast. To register and see a list of events, go to the Web site http://sharethehealth.od.nih.gov.
Those in the Washington area who plan to attend the fair can take Metro's Red Line to the Medical Center station at NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Everyone attending the fair will be required to show identification. Cars and bags will be inspected.