BAPS Health Fair provides free and low costs services

BAPS Charities in Irving hosts an annual Health Fair in the fall, offering health and wellness services to the local community. The fair is part of the spiritual group’s mission to improve the health of society in general and to particularly serve individuals in need.

Nearly 400 people attended this year’s fair presented at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on State Highway 161 on Saturday, Oct. 4.

Doctors volunteered their time along with dentists, nurses, ophthalmologists, specialists, and psychiatrists. Guests could have free screenings in several areas, such as diabetes, cholesterol, body fat, eye and dental, obesity, and osteoporosis. A new service included having pharmacists available for one-on-one consultations.

“[The Health Fair] opens the community to medical professionals from Parkland, Baylor Scott and White, and Dallas County Health and Human Services,” volunteer Parashar Pandy said.

Organizers held an opening ceremony to kick off the fair. Several provided remarks including representatives from BAPS. The ceremony included the recognition of noted guests, such as Dr. Elba Garcia, a dentist and also a Dallas County Commissioner; Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services; and Fred Cerise, president and CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System.

“It is important the diversity of population in Dallas County all have access to health care, and the BAPS Health Fair helps to meet this need,” Dr. Elba Garcia, a dentist and Dallas County Commissioner said. “I am very honored to be part of this event.”

After the opening ceremony, guests dispersed to areas throughout the temple where screenings were set up.

“For a flat $33 registration fee, attendees can obtain blood work analysis, EKG’s, blood pressure, vision and dental check-ups, provided by about 50 medical professionals and dentists,” said Dr. Vishal Patel, an orthopedic spine surgeon from Baylor, Scott and White, who has been part of the fair for four years.

“This event provides opportunities for the attendees to receive preventative screening all in one place at the same time, so they can get everything done in a ‘one-stop shop’ atmosphere,” said Priya Patel, a physician’s assistant. “The health fair is more focused on those who do not have access to regular health care and helps them avoid logistical issues.”

BAPS Charities, an outreach of the BAPS faith, offers these health fairs at about 50 of its locations across the country. Through the annual health fairs and other community efforts such as health awareness lectures, food drives and walkathons, BAPS Charities are committed to giving back.