In early 2002, Mr. Gene Settles (President of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity) and Mr. Irvin Overton (President of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity) met one afternoon and asked the question, “As African American Men Organizations, what can our organizations do together that will have a profound impact on the community?” After consulting with several other individuals in the community, the idea of a Minority Health Fair was birthed. This event would address a major need in the community; it would provide a “free” event to benefit individuals rather than asking them to pay to come. Also, it would create a partnership between organizations to provide leadership and focus on the cause and not ourselves. Both organizations agreed that we would request funds from major healthcare companies to help fund the event.
In August 2002, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. partnered together in conjunction with the 28th Community Develop Corporation to focus on men’s health issues by providing a free health fair – Hamilton County Minority Health Fair. The primary focus was geared toward prostate exams, blood pressure and other educational services for men.The free health fair was held at Brainerd High School in August 2002. Approximately 250 people attended and we had 30 vendors to set up screening and educational booths. In 2004, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. joined this partnership and added a focus on women’s and children’s health. This new partnership allowed the MHF to expand screening and educational services for the entire family. Our attendance grew to over 450 people and 45 vendors.
In 2005, the MHF was moved to Eastgate Town Center due to the expected growth for attendees and vendors at the event. The 9th Annual MHF held this past August drew over 2,000 attendees and 100 vendors. Since inception of the event, over 10,000 people have received free educational and screening services at the MHF. We have received personal testimonials from attendees that attending and receiving the free services at the MHF saved their life. In additions, participating vendors have commented that the MHF is the best organized and attended health fair in the region.