Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shands Health Van Delivers Link between Body, Spirit; St. Matthew Baptist Church Hosts Doctors for Medical Tests and Health Talks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shands Health Van Delivers Link between Body, Spirit; St. Matthew Baptist Church Hosts Doctors for Medical Tests and Health Talks

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN LEWIS

Two doctors and a health van crew from Shands Jacksonville teamed with St. Matthew Baptist Church on Sunday to give residents tests for diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure and to encourage exercise and regular medical check-ups.

The health fair was hosted by one of the 15 churches the hospital works with to publicize free clinics and "break down the barriers of mistrust" between parts of the community and the medical profession, physician Eric Stewart said.

"We felt one of the best ways to get the message across was through the ministries," Stewart said. "The whole thing is to bring the church and health care together, to gain the trust of the people."

Many people with lower incomes don't go to doctors regularly and then end up in emergency rooms, said the Rev. George Price, pastor of St. Matthew Baptist Church. Checks for diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer can help prevent a devastating problem later, he said.

"We're trying to make a relationship between your body's health and your spiritual health," Price said.

The church on Moncrief Road has a medical clinic running five days a week and a dental clinic offered on Saturdays. The clinic, which opened about 10 years ago, gets about 3,000 visits per year, he said.

After the church's morning service, the congregants gathered for a chicken lunch and a speech by Kenneth Nixon. The doctor focused on the dangers of obesity and the importance of exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. …

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