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by Melissa Lishman, staff writer

More that 20 community agencies set up on Fort Street Mall Feb. 4 for the HPU Spring 2009 Health and Wellness Expo.
“ A lot of times students are not taking care of themselves,” said Director of Counseling and Behavioral Health Services, Kaniala Kekaulike, who believes the expo gives students an opportunity to learn about the services available to them.
“ Students are not going to go out and look for the services themselves,” Kekaulike added. “Primarily, we bring the services to them.”
Most vendors focused on physical health. Kalihi Palama Health Center offered information about safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Laura Peters, a registered nurse said that more than 100 people stopped to take pamphlets and talk. She said the Center gave out about 75 free condoms.
The American Cancer Society used models to teach people how to check themselves for breast and testicular cancer, and they also did demonstrations. A Society intern, Kate Thayer, said: “Cancer hits someone at any age and any race. It’s never too early to check.”
The Expo also included P90X, an organization that sells fitness DVDs and tracks members’ progress via blogs. They offered a good meal plan and help with fitness, as well as support through an interactive blog called “Wowy,” where members can write about their exercise and diet routines.
HPU nursing students were also involved with the expo. A team of students gave out free blood pressure tests. If someone’s results were borderline or indicated high blood pressure, students would recommend they see a doctor.
“ It’s a public service,” said Mercy Mott, assistant professor of nursing. “The blood pressure check up is always popular,” she added.
Some health vendors focused on spirituality. Reverend Dale Burke, HPU’s chaplain, talked about the importance of faith: “Just as you need physical health and wellness, you also need a spiritual health and wellness,” Burke said.
Sukyo Mahikari, another organization that focused on spirituality, emphasized improving oneself through divine light. Participants placed hands over each other’s head to share the light. A representative of the organization explained, “They were receiving the light.”
Some vendors promoted fun stuff. Aloha Ke Akua Distributors sold medical supplies; the HPU Wellness Committee promoted the Great Aloha Run; and the Life Foundation promoted the AIDS Walk.
“ The event was very successful,” said Kekaulike. An HPU freshman, Lovely Bayani, who attended the event, said, “It was very interesting, I learned a lot of fascinating information.”


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