WESTERN MASS. – The Hadassah New England chapter held its New England HealthFest on Sunday, April 21 in Marlborough. The event featured 40 booths with Health & Wellness programs, exhibitors, sponsors, and partner organizations. Hundreds of attendees had a chance to participate in hands-on demonstrations and examinations focused on preventing diseases such as osteoporosis, heart failure, breast and testicular cancer, and more.
“We wanted to launch Hadassah’s second century as a vital organization by showcasing our extensive health and wellness programs, said Carol Goodman Kaufman, HealthFest founder and committee chair. “We planned HealthFest to benefit both our members and our neighbors throughout New England, and that day we welcomed people from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and from as far as the Berkshires. HealthFest continued Hadassah’s tradition of educating for action.”
Dr. Jodi Hoffman, Director of the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Disease at Tufts University, was one of the many physicians speaking at the event. Dr. Hoffman spoke about Gaucher disease, which is one of the nineteen identified genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews, and the most prevalent one.
The platinum sponsor for the full-day event was Pfizer, which has developed the only plant-based drug for the treatment of Gaucher disease. “Hadassah’s New England Healthfest provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of genetic diseases, such as Gaucher disease, that have a greater prevalence in the Jewish community,” said Miyeon Kim, Pfizer, Vice President, Established Products North America. “Pfizer is proud to partner with Hadassah to help educate the Jewish community about these rare, genetic and life-threatening diseases.”
Other speakers addressed topics including women and heart disease, osteoporosis, Crohn’s & colitis, and cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Hadassah-trained Dr. Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher discussed “broken heart” syndrome to a rapt audience.
Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital was HealthFest’s Gold sponsor, and their Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Debra Twehous, spoke about a topic that has been gaining a great deal of attention lately: head injury in sports.
Hadassah’s organizational partners for this major event were the American Red Cross, which held a successful blood drive; the New England Organ Donor Bank, which recruited new organ donors, and the National Bone Marrow Registry. And, students from Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine did double duty: teaching kids about good oral hygiene and checking adults for oral cancer.
Carol Goodman Kaufman, founder and chair of the New England HealthFest of Worcester, Ma , Robin Shuman, Nancy Falchuk, Evan Falchuk (of Boston) and Ellen Masters of Berkshire Hills.