For five years, Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton has arranged a fall event that aims to improve local women’s health literacy and give them easy access to essential services.

This year, however, Pinkerton decided to roll several events into one, and launch the first Multicultural Health Celebration around the theme “Your Health Starts With You.”

Saturday’s event, sponsored by the University of Virginia Midlife Health Center, UVa’s Latino Health Initiative, the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, Sin Barreras and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, will provide informative sessions and free health screenings to area women and their loved ones.

“We are taking what used to be three events and doing it all at once,” said Pinkerton, a professor of obstetrics at UVa and leader of the Midlife Health Center, which typically focuses on women ages 40 to 70 who are dealing with biological, psychological and social changes.

Community partners for Saturday’s event include Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, the Thomas Jefferson Health Department, the Charlottesville Free Clinic and the Women’s Initiative. Keynote speaker Pamela Sutton Wallace, acting executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of the UVa Medical Center, will give a talk titled “Take Care of Yourself.” Panels, information sessions and the keynote will include Spanish language options and interpreters.

The event will provide free vital health screenings, including diabetes and blood pressure testing, screening for hearing and vision and glaucoma. Dental care and some flu and tetanus vaccines will be available. Every Woman’s Life will do financial screenings to see if women also qualify for free mammograms and gynecological exams.

“Having this large, multicultural event celebration, where we are trying to bring access to more people, is bringing more energy, more specialists and more services than we have ever seen before,” Pinkerton said. “We’ll be covering a lot of ground.”

While past events have focused on health issues more common among older women, this year the event will include topics about normal and complicated pregnancies and the importance of breastfeeding, especially for underserved populations.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Covenant Church at 1025 E. Rio Road. Screening signups will begin at 9 a.m. and sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sutton-Wallace will speak at 11 a.m.

Free child care will be available for a limited number of children under the age of 5. Children’s activities, refreshments and giveaways also will be available.

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