USVI Wellness Fair Kicks Off: Free Medical Services Offered Across Territory

The fair, part of the Healthier Horizon initiative, utilizes military healthcare professionals to provide essential medical screenings and services to the community, ensuring health care access for all Virgin Islanders

  • Tsehai Alfred
  • June 03, 2024

Residents wait to seen by military health care professionals at the St. Croix Educational Complex. By. TSEHAI ALFRED, V.I. CONSORTIUM

On its first day, the USVI Wellness Fair provided dozens of St. Croix residents with free medical services and screenings at the St. Croix Educational Complex.

The fair, sponsored by the office of Governor Albert Bryan Jr and the VI Department of Health, deployed around 300 military health care professionals from the U.S. Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program throughout the territory for the services. “Where the community partners will provide us a venue, we’re going to provide medical services so it's a win-win for both sides,” Captain Decassay, an IRT officer-in-charge, said about the collaborative event.

From June 1-9, the health care professionals will provide dental and optometry services, as well as medical screenings, pediatric physicals, and mental wellness checks to residents on all three islands. According to a message from Governor Bryan, the fair is a part of the administration's Healthier Horizon initiative, created in 2019, “to improve health care access for all Virgin Islanders.”

While residents benefited from the free medical services provided, the military health care professionals from the IRT program were also able to receive more experience and training for deployment. “Our folks are getting training while bolstering readiness for real time situations, such as IRT—IRT is a real time situation—and then at the same time we are serving our local citizens at no cost to them,” Decassay said.

Although the fair is open to residents of all ages, many of those in attendance on Saturday were seniors who said they found the registration process—which involved an online pre-registration form or a QR code to scan at the location—difficult to navigate.

“I told my daughter to register me on the phone cause I don’t know how,” said Rosetta Laurence while waiting to be seen by a professional.

Ms. Laurence said she heard about the fair on the radio and wanted to attend because of the free-of-charge services. She said she needed a second opinion on recent pain she has been experiencing. “I have a regular doctor and I notice I've been having some pain and I go to the doctor and I still have some pains so I came to see if they could help me to relieve this pain,” Laurence said.

On St. Thomas, the fair is being held at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and at Maternal and Child Health clinics for St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island residents.

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