Dr. Joy Russell works with a patient Wednesday, August 17, 2016 in her Brainerd office.

If you go

What: 14th Annual Hamilton County Minority Health Fair: Empowering and Educating Minorities to Close the Health Gap

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Eastgate Town Center

Seventy-three-year-old William Woodall had at least four doctors monitoring his health, but none addressed his ingrown toenails. Pain tormented him for more than a year.

"It really hurt to walk," Woodall said.

He tried cutting his nails himself, but got scared when they bled because he was diabetic. Then he attended a health fair aimed at aiding minorities, where he met Dr. Joy Russell, who addressed the problem and relieved his pain.

Woodall is one of thousands of residents who have received help at Tennessee's largest minority health fair. Some people deem the event their primary health care experience for the year, according to organizers.

The 14th annual Hamilton County Minority Health Fair is scheduled Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eastgate Town Center. It offers 125 free health screenings and health education services. Blood pressure, dental, diabetes, lung and stroke screenings are included.

Dr. Carroll Odem reviews all laboratory work and, if a patient has a problem, invites them in for a follow-up visit. Patients also receive a letter showing their results.

"We're providing baseline information with health screenings, and we get people plugged into the health care system," said Chris Ramsey, president of the Southeast Tennessee Health Consortium.

Russell will be one of dozens of doctors on site administering free health care and answering questions.

"The fair provides a perfect opportunity to give back to the community and to educate people concerning their health," she said.

Local line dancers will demonstrate steps and slides to make exercising fun.

"It gets your heartbeat up and gets you moving," said Yolanda Cox, dance instructor.

Ramsey and other organizers coordinate the health fair annually to help end health disparities negatively affecting minorities.

Local recreation specialist Wesley Brown said doctors treated him on the spot at the health fair one year after learning his blood pressure was high enough to damage his brain.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department released a report in 2015 stating that nearly 15 percent of county residents under age 65, almost 44,000 people, did not have health insurance in 2013.

The event is sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi fraternities and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, in conjunction with the Southeast Tennessee Health Consortium.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or 423-757-6431.