During the month of February, Get Healthy CT, in cooperation with the health departments of Bridgeport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Monroe, and Stratford, is launching Know Your Numbers, its third annual grassroots campaign to raise awareness of heart disease and diabetes among area residents — especially those who are struggling the most. In addition to teaching individuals the link between their numbers and their overall health, these screenings will help to identify individuals with unknown cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It also encourages those with existing disease to better manage it.
Volunteer nurses and nursing students from Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, St. Vincent’s College, Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing, and Southern Connecticut State University will provide free health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference free of charge. This year marks the first year that individuals who are known diabetics or who screen for blood sugar over 300 also will receive the A1C test, which provides information about a person’s average levels of blood sugar over the past three months. It is the primary test used for diabetes management and research.
The initiative also includes a public awareness campaign to Know Your Numbers that informs residents about the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes and how to get screened. People will be encouraged to see their regular primary care doctor for screenings. For individuals unable to access these screenings with a personal physician, free screenings (testing) will be provided at churches, schools, and various locations throughout Bridgeport and participating towns. The free screenings are being offered with follow-up to primary care physicians or clinics. The same call for people to know their numbers will be shared via radio and social media and at GetHealthyCT.org.
Get Healthy CT (GHCT) is a coalition of businesses and community organizations, including Bridgeport Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Optimus Healthcare, Southwest Community Health Center, Americares Free Clinic, LLC, local town health departments and social service agencies, collaborating to reduce obesity in the greater Bridgeport region.
“With this campaign, Get Healthy CT is aiming to heighten awareness of heart disease and diabetes, which have been identified as major health risks among Bridgeport’s population, ” said GHCT organizer Lyn Salsgiver, senior vice president of strategy and business planning at Bridgeport Hospital, a member of Yale New Haven Health System. “We are working with local churches and the faith community and providers to educate people about diabetes and cardiac disease and encourage people to be screened so they can identify any health issues early and get the care they need. We also want to educate people on how to avoid getting these diseases by eating healthy and being physically active.”
“I Know My Numbers. Do you Know Yours?”
Organizers are recruiting well known individuals from the region to help with the task. These local celebrities will ask area residents through an awareness campaign, “I Know My Numbers. Do You Know Yours?” Volunteers will screen members of the Bridgeport City Council on Feb. 16 prior to its meeting.
“We are asking for participation from civic, church, and community leaders to help us with the campaign, and plan to engage residents of all ages through traditional and social media to get the word out. This is important for all Bridgeport residents and we need to reach them where they are!” explained Bill Hoey, vice president of mission services for St. Vincent’s Health Services, which is also a GHCT member and participant in the program. “We are grateful to all the participating organizations and to the churches for partnering with us in this new, more holistic way to care for the health of their members physically, mentally, and spiritually.”
Free screening schedule:
If an individual does not have access to screenings through a personal physician, there will be cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and A1C screenings offered on the following dates and at these locations:
- Feb. 8: 5-6:30 p.m., Town Council Chambers, as part of the Town Council meeting, 2725 Main Street, Stratford
- Feb. 10: 9:30-11:30 a.m., South End Community Center, 19 Bates Street, Stratford
- Feb. 14 — Blood Pressure Sunday: Times vary by location. St. Vincent’s Parish Nurse Congregations
- Feb. 17, 1 a.m.-1 p.m., Operation Hope Shelter, 50 Nichols Street, Fairfield
Faith Community Blood Pressure Sunday
- Sunday, Feb. 14
Bridgeport churches are participating in a Faith Community Blood Pressure Sunday. Parish nurses will perform blood pressure checks after services at various churches throughout the city. Only blood pressure checks and no other screenings will be performed at the churches on this day. Times will vary depending on the church site. Members should check their church bulletin for times.