It was a festive atmosphere as parents allowed their children to play on a moon bounce on the cordoned parking lot of Riverdale Elementary School during the 2016 Annual Community Health and Environment Fair hosted by Global Health and Education Projects Inc. May 14.

But, the essential purpose of the event was to provide more than 200 people from the Riverdale township and surrounding Washington, D.C. area with a gamut of free health screening services, social services and public health information organized by GHEP, a Riverdale Park community-based non-profit organization.

Approximately 34 government and non-government agencies attended the event, including health care professionals from Georgetown University Hospital, Howard University Hospital and Doctor’s Community Hospital. The health care agencies, along with others, provided free health services and public health, environment and financial services information.

Embracing this year’s theme, “Health and Environment: Connections for Healthy Lives, Healthy Communities,” GHEP Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Romuladus Emeka Azuine, DrPH, MPH, RN was excited for the festival.

“Our goal is to ensure that we are closing the gaps and opportunities in educational outcomes especially between the local minority communities and (other) communities of Prince George’s County,"Azuine said.

Azuine also noted that this year’s festival’s health screenings – including blood pressure, blood glucose monitoring, ENT examinations and pediatrician consults – were offered based on last year’s attendee feedback. All screenings provided resulted in referrals to health care providers in the local area.

Several other free screenings were also made available. The services included a mobile health clinic, cholesterol screening, vision screening, cervical cancer screening and breast cancer screening. Vendors also provided nutrition and diet information.

Some information provided wasn’t necessarily health-related, but is part of a healthy lifestyle. Attendees were able to learn about environmental resources for green energy, water quality and community tree planting.

Attendees were also able to learn about stalking, bullying and violence prevention, proper car seat usage, family CPR and first aid.

Understanding the intricate connection between human health and the environment which is the foundation for improving individual and community health and wellness is important to Azuine and those involved with the festival.

“We do not have to wait for diseases and calamities such as the Zika Virus to jolt us into understanding the importance of health and environmental education and information empowerment for our people and communities,” Azuine said. "This is why we are holding this health fair which has brought for-profit and non-profit partners together for a common cause.”

Global Health and Education Projects Inc. partnered with Dr. Clifford Thomas, a community activist and founder of We Lead by Example Inc., to create the annual health fair. Other communities leaders in attendance included the deputy mayor of the city of Riverdale Park, various city council members and other community health officials.