Dancing at the luau
No Luau would be complete without dancing. The Ladies' Luau featured the Chammoritas, a Pacific Island dance group, for attendees to enjoy.

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Dancing, food and a fashion show may not come to mind when thinking about Bassett Army Community Hospital, but that's exactly what was on the docket last week during the second annual Ladies' Luau.

The luau organizers sought to offer a festive environment to encourage women to take an evening for themselves to relax, have fun and think about their own wellbeing.

"Women often take care of their families and forget about their own health," said Cindy Henley, nurse educator for Arctic Health Link. "We know women's exams aren't exactly fun so we wanted to make this an enjoyable evening for our female beneficiaries."

However, the night wasn't all fun and games; prevention and education booths were also offered to those in attendance. The Breast Cancer Detection Center was on hand to provide information, and Bassett employees provided blood pressure screenings and nutrition information along with well-woman exams and mammogram referrals.

"This is part of our push to transition from a healthcare system to a system for health," said Henley. "It's a bit like the old saying 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' If we can prevent high blood pressure and diabetes by teaching healthy habits, it's better for the patient and the healthcare provider. We hope we can reach out to our beneficiaries before they get sick instead of waiting for them to get sick before they come to us."

There are 525,949 hours in a year and Army medicine statistics show, on average, a patient spends only 100 minutes a year with their healthcare provider. It's the other 99 percent of patients' lives that Army medicine is trying to focus on to improve the lives of patients.

"We want to find enjoyable ways to incorporate health into the 525,849 they are not at the doctor," said Henley. "By providing education and means of being proactive in their own health, we can prevent many serious diseases."

The event attracted over 100 women who were able to receive free massages, participate in a zumba demonstration, fill their plates with healthy food and shop from various vendors.

Terry Duncan, director of the Youth Center for the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and a retiree, was one of the women who attended.

"The event sounded like it would be a good time and I knew I needed to schedule my annual wellness appointment," said Duncan. "I shopped at the booths, got some great health information and scheduled both my mammogram and well-woman exam."

Henley was happy with the turnout at the event and the number of follow-up appointments that were booked.

"The event facilitated the scheduling of over 20 well-woman exams," said Henley. "Those are 20 women we may not have gotten through our doors until there was a medical issue. If we diagnose even one of these women with a condition that needs to be treated, then the event was a success."

Page last updated Fri November 1st, 2013 at 15:05