MICHIGAN CITY – The NAACP of La Porte County wants to raise awareness about the health barriers that curtail healthy lives for African Americans and other minorities.

During a Stretch Towards Health and Wellness Health Fair on Saturday at the Elston YMCA, three speakers will discuss health issues affecting African Americans, as well the new change to public charge rule.

Dr. Carey Ransone, a board-certified urologist, will discuss prostate, bladder and kidney health.

“African Americans are more likely to develop asthma, heart disease and certain cancers,” according to NAACP spokeswoman La’Tonya Troutman. “African American males are three times more likely to develop prostate cancers and should be screened more proactively.”

Dr. Melvin Richardson will speak about opioid addiction and how it is affecting La Porte County residents.

In Indiana, approximately 90 percent of individuals with addiction begin using illicit drugs before the age of 18, Troutman said. “Since 1999, the number of opioid poisoning deaths increased by 500 percent.”

Attorney Sarah Everett will also discuss the recent changes to the public charge grounds of inadmissibility to the United States, which go into effect on Oct. 15.

“Enacted over a century ago, the Public Charge Rule is a federal immigration law designed to identify individuals who are likely to become a public charge, making them inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a legal permanent resident,” Troutman said.

“The rule disfranchises immigrants, preventing access to necessary healthcare while contributing to premature death from untreated illness,” she said.

The Health and Wellness Fair, which is free to the public, will also feature information booths, vendors and free screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose and depression. Giveaways will be distributed to all who attend, with special giveaways every hour.

The event is co-sponsored by the La Porte County NAACP Branch 306, Healthlinc Community Health Center and Minority Health Partners. It will go from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the YMCA, 1202 Spring St., Michigan City.

Everett will speak at 9 a.m.; Dr. Richardson at 10 a.m,; and Dr. Ransone at 11 a.m.

—From staff reports

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