The BIG Diabetes Day at the Mall

diabetesThe MNO Health Branch partnered with other agencies in an all-day
Diabetes awareness event at the Heritage Place Mall in Owen Sound
Submitted by David Clark, Community Wellness Worker, Owen Sound

It started innocently enough, a quick chat between the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Health Branch staff in Owen Sound and a community agency about doing a joint diabetes workshop. As we chatted, Judy (Osteoporosis Canada) suggested we involve Lynda of the Grey Bruce Diabetes Program operating through the regional hospital. From there it grew into a large, all-day event at Heritage Place Mall, the only mall located in Owen Sound and Grey and Bruce Counties. Seven agencies, all with vested interests in diabetes (awareness, management, and prevention), partnered to present a one-stop event about diabetes. We provided screening, foot care, and lots of information and expert advice. A total of 14 staff and volunteers from the participating agencies hosted the information displays. The event ran from 10:00 am to 7:00pm on February 23.

The mall management generously donated the use of an empty store for the day, and loaned us tables and chairs. From the moment we opened the doors, we had a steady stream of visitors, with two ½-hour slow-downs around lunch and dinner. Screening was provided with about 40 people taking advantage, and almost 30 people pre-booked and attended the foot care clinic.

As we planned the event, it drove home the necessity for a holistic approach to health in general, but specifically regarding diabetes. Exhibitors included SOADI, CNIB, Canadian Diabetes Society, Grey Bruce Health Services, South West Self Management, Métis Nation of Ontario, and Osteoporosis Canada/Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy. The BIG approach to this event, we believe, made it more inviting for people. Also, it led to the discussion of more partnering opportunities among the participating agencies. The event also attracted staff from other agencies that although not part of the planning for this event, still had the opportunity to network.

We tracked visitation using door prize ballots which included a “quickie survey” that was completed by 133 participants.  The survey results revealed the following:

  • 24% were male, 76% female;
  • 59% were from Owen Sound, 27% travelled 1-hour or more;
  • top three sources of information were newspaper (40%), radio (33%), and word-of-mouth (18%).
  • On a 5-point scale (1 low, 5 high) asking about helpfulness of the event, the average rating was 4.3 with a mode of 5.0.
  • 82% percent stated they would attend next year.

Go BIG…….get BIG results!

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