Reprinted with permission of the Imperial Valley Press

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Nursing student Mariann Nilson (left) gets instruction from optical manager Lisa Gonzales, Advanced Eye Care Optometry, to get an eye examination Tuesday during the Imperial Valley College health fair in Imperial. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO

Imperial Valley College student Gabriella Jaimes checked her blood pressure, eye sight, weight and even tested her blood on Tuesday.

This all took place at the annual health fair held on campus, in collaboration with Pioneers Memorial Hospital and El Centro Regional Medical Center. Thirty agencies participating provided information on programs and services.

"It's amazing. I come every year," Jaimes said. "The services they bring are very helpful."

The fair is held twice a year in an effort to give college students an opportunity to learn what services are in the Imperial Valley. Agencies included Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program and many others.

"Students, especially coming out of high school, are now responsible for their own health," said Richard Morales, ECRMC public relations specialist. "They need to understand what resources are available to them."

"We want them to have a brighter, healthier lifestyle for themselves," he added.

Socorro Calderon, a volunteer for Relay for Life and a representative of the American Cancer Society, was there to promote cancer prevention, but found that many students shied away from her booth.

"They don't want to talk about it," she said. "They're probably afraid to know."

She presented information about eating healthier as well as avoiding tobacco, which is the worst thing a person can have when it comes to prevention.

Imperial County Public Health Department Health Educator Raul Martinez gave out information about the effects of tobacco, specifically e-cigarettes.

"A lot of students are using electronic cigarettes because IVC is a smoke-free campus," he said.

They don't know the consequences, he added, stating that e-cigarettes are not FDA-approved and they have unsafe chemicals in them.

Lalita Hermosillo, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo case manager, presented information about another side of health — HIV.

"(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends everyone should have one HIV test in your lifetime, even if you're not sexually active," she said. "HIV doesn't discriminate … it can just take that one time."

Clinicas provided education and the tools to be sexually safe, Hermosillo said.

Planned Parenthood was on site giving free HIV testing, chlamydia testing and gonorrhea testing.

Other testing at the event was blood testing from the Pioneers Memorial Hospital. They tested for magnesium, iron, hemoglobin, glucose and more to see how healthy a person is, said Kyle Counce, of the PMH lab.

IVC student Victor Ruby Jr. said he thought all the resources were really helpful.

"They do it every semester. It's pretty good," he said.

Staff Writer Krista Daly can be reached at 760-337-3445 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..