Health-care expo draws thousands to Covelli Centre

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A crowd estimated to be in the thousands came to the Covelli Centre on Saturday for the first day of the two-day inaugural Valley Health & Wellness Expo.

And sponsors of the expo at the Covelli Centre, 229 E. Front St. downtown, hope many thousands more will attend the free event’s second edition today, from noon to 4 p.m., to learn more about the quality and variety of health care services in the Mahoning Valley.

The event is meant to inform people that health care of the highest quality can be provided in the Valley, said Ed Muransky, chief executive officer of Southwoods Hospital in Boardman.

Southwoods is one of four major sponsors of the event, one purpose of which is to stem the “out-migration” to hospitals out of the area, Muransky said.

The other sponsors are Mercy Health, One Health Ohio and Steward Health Care System.

“This is a win-win for everybody on most everything. We [the hospital systems] all have the health care needed or one of us has it,” said Muransky.

“We know there is no reason to leave the Valley for health care. Individually or collectively, we can provide what’s needed. Together, we are very powerful,” said Melissa Bennett, president and chief executive officer of Steward Health Care’s Northside Regional Medical Center in Youngstown.

Also, it gives residents multiple options and the hospital systems high-quality competition, Bennett added.

“We’re fortunate we have multiple resources – three hospital systems and a health-care organization. We can lean into and complement each other,” said Don Kline, Mercy Health-Youngstown CEO, who said he believes a lot of people go out of the area for health care because they don’t know what’s available right here at home.

The mission of One Health Ohio is to provide primary health care, which includes medical, dental and behavioral health care, to the uninsured, underinsured and underserved, said Dr. Ronald Dwinnells, a pediatrician and the organization’s CEO.

“We feel we provide a valuable service to many people and should remain part of the quality health-care programs in the Mahoning Valley,” Dr. Dwinnells said.

Leslie Davis, marketing and graphics specialist with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, which also sponsored the event, coordinated the expo.

It attracted not only thousands of visitors Saturday, but features 66 vendors, various free health screenings and a staged area with demonstrations and speakers.

Michelle Jamieson of Hubbard Township, who brought her granddaughter, Cora Christoff, 12, of Hubbard to the expo, said she was impressed.

At one of the demonstrations, Jamieson saw a pig’s lung that demonstrated the affects of smoking. Judging from the expo, she said it seemed area health-care facilities are more empathetic to people in the Valley.

“There are more services available in the Valley than I might of thought,” Jamieson said.

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