Access to care can often mean the difference between good and poor health. That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) is dedicated to delivering preventive health care services and resources to rural New Mexico communities like Sunland Park in Doña Ana County and Counselor, a small, unincorporated community in Sandoval County.
Living in rural areas often comes with greater health disparities. Rural Americans have an increased risk for developing heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and other conditions.
To help more New Mexicans in underserved areas access care, BCBSNM regularly sponsors community health days across the state, bringing together community partners to provide no-cost medical screenings and health care resources to those in need.
This July, BCBSNM and Gallup Cultural Center co-sponsored a community health day in Gallup that drew over 350 community members. No-cost vaccines were provided by McKinley County Public Health, Utopia Dental provided no-cost dental screenings and fluoride treatments and New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight provided no-cost vision screenings to children and adults.
“There’s a major concern among our kids here, because a lot of them don’t realize they may need glasses,” said Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi, who attended the event. “This health day let them get their vision screened at no cost."
Organizations like Aging & Disability Resource Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Indigenous Life Ways were on-site to share program information. Attendees were invited to observe a ceremonial gourd dance and participate in Zumba and Trash-to-Art workshops. Gift bags were given to the first 60 community members and shaved ice was available to those who attended the event.
“This event was a great way for people to stay on top of information and get to know providers and health care services in their community,” said Terri Frazier, director of the Gallup Cultural Center.
BCBSNM’s next Community Health Day will be held on Aug. 19 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow us on Facebook for event updates and details.