Chamber Expects Big Turnout for Health Expo

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber was still taking calls this week from vendors interested in booth space for this weekend’s Valley Health & Wellness Expo at the Covelli Centre.

The deadline was Feb. 14 to register, and no space has been available for some time, said Kim Calvert, vice president of marketing and events. Despite the expo being pulled together quickly, booth space on the main floor sold out quickly.

The chamber is presenting the two-day expo in conjunction with Gold Level sponsors Mercy Health, One Health Ohio, Southwoods Health and Steward Health Care System. Set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, it is free and open to the public.

“Vendor response has been great,” Calvert said. Sixty-six vendors will occupy 82 booths on the first floor.

The objective of the expo is to showcase the various health-care services available in the Mahoning Valley.

“It’s just natural for us to take part in community events, especially something as important as this one – coming together as a group and showcasing what we can offer in the Valley as far as health-care services,” said Megan Kovacich, marketing director for One Health Ohio.

One Health Ohio operates six health centers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Stark counties and two behavioral health sites in Youngstown and Warren, Kovacich said. It also is developing a clinic in the former Bottom Dollar Food building on the South Side.

“We want people in the Valley to know all about the services here and know that we are here to provide them with the utmost quality care,” she added.

Many Valley residents travel outside the area to places such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh for health-care services, said Melissa Bennett, president of Northside Regional Medical Center. Northside is one of the four hospitals Boston-based Steward purchased last year and operates in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.

“We know that if we can provide great care locally, it’s so much easier for families, for patients, for loved ones,” Bennett said. “It’s difficult to be able to travel out of town. We provide great quality in many different specialties, and if we can provide that locally, it is more financially appropriate, and it saves a lot of other hardships that come with moving out of the community.”

The expo will feature presentations on an array of health and health-related topics, from surgical technology, heart health and women’s health, to health insurance, planning for financial wellness and legal issues such as power of attorney, living wills and estate planning.

Medical professionals from the four Gold sponsors will provide screenings and answer questions regarding individual medical issues through “Ask-A-Doc” sessions.

“We’re looking to educate everyone and be able to give them the opportunity to ask questions that might be specific to them,” Bennett said.

Based on reaction so far, Calvert said she expects the expo will get even bigger in succeeding years. In addition to the vendors’ strong response, interest from general public has been good, she reported.

“People are asking if they need to schedule appointments for screenings,” she said. “We’re expecting it to be a great success.”

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