Citing COVID-19 concerns, the 19th Annual Minority Health Fair (MHF) planned for Aug. 1 on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been canceled, organizers announced today. In its place will be an Aug. 1 “virtual,” online presentation of the event, with details to come on July 1.

Meanwhile, organizers are launching a campaign to give away free face masks in support of personal health practices to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Despite the cancellation of the Minority Health Fair, we are proud to announce our Free Mask Giveaway,” said Chris Ramsey, president of the Southeast Tennessee Health Consortium Foundation, which has organized annual MHF planning since the event debuted in 2002.

“The goal of this campaign is to give out 10,000 free KN95 masks to the Chattanooga community. Educating and protecting the minority and underserved community during this public health pandemic continues to be a priority for our foundation,” Ramsey added. “This campaign is a partnership between SETHC Foundation, CHI Memorial, Alleo Health, Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, Sankofa, Simple Choice PPE Solutions and other MHF vendor partners.

The mask giveaway starts on Saturday, June 6, at the free COVID-19 testing center at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. Every person who undergoes testing at this site will receive a free KN95 mask.

The Hamilton County Minority Health Fair began in 2002 as a joint effort of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to address men’s health concerns. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. got involved in 2004, expanding the scope to include women’s and children’s health concerns. Since that time, the event has further focused on significant disparities between the health profiles of African American and white residents of Hamilton County that persist today.

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