Birth defects, diseases and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans will be the subject of a town hall-style meeting in Tarpon Springs on Monday.
Sponsoring the event is the Vietnam Veterans of America's Florida State Council in partnership with the Florida Veterans Foundation and VVA chapters 522 and 1003.
"We cannot be silent about the effects of our battlefield exposures on our children in the face of overwhelming evidence connecting many diseases and birth defects to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam," said Mike Bousher, VVA Florida State Council first vice president and president of Chapter 522 in Indian Rocks Beach.
"We will explore issues surrounding Agent Orange exposure, including scientific information, health effects and methods for educating the public and elected representatives about the issues of Vietnam veterans, their children and their families," said Boucher, who encourages all veterans with children or grandchildren suffering from illnesses, learning disabilities or physical disabilities to come share their stories.
Because veterans may not be aware of their exposure to contaminants or its possible effects on their health, the goal of the town hall meeting is to bring attention to the hidden cost of military service and to encourage the government to create and maintain a registry of birth defects, as well as assist doctors in finding ways to diagnose and treat these medical issues.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in Fine Arts Room 132 at St. Petersburg College, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs.
Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
For more information, call Bousher at (813) 917-2688.
• • •
Four years ago, the Salvation Army received the results of a needs assessment survey contracted through the University of Tampa, identifying the top five social service needs in our area. The study showed that dental health topped the health care list.
To help meet that need, the Community Dental Clinic Inc., a nonprofit charity whose mission is to provide dental care to low-income families and the developmentally disabled, will open at 8:30 a.m. Friday at 1008 Woodlawn St., Clearwater.
The state-of-the-art dental facility was created with the support of the Clearwater Free Clinic, the Salvation Army and UPARC and uses volunteer dentists, hygienists and other specialized health care professionals.
For the first few months, clinic hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m Friday.
Cheryl Small, the clinic's executive director, said that operating days and hours will be expanded.
"We're still getting our volunteers organized," she explained. "Once the paperwork's done, retired dentists will also be able to volunteer."
The facility is not a walk-in or emergency clinic; patients are seen by appointment only.
For more information and to schedule a visit, call (727) 216-6155.
• • •
Just getting started with Medicare and need help navigating coverage choices? Need help signing up for Part A or Part B, or have questions about how Medicare works with other insurance?
Specially trained volunteers from SHINE, or Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas will present a free seminar, Medicare 101, from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave.
SHINE volunteers also offer free, unbiased, one-on-one counseling every Wednesday throughout the year, with additional Friday hours Oct. 18 through Dec. 6.
Call the library's reference desk at (727) 298-3080, ext. 1707.
• • •
A workshop for people and families dealing with substance abuse/depression will be presented from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Suncoast Hospice, Room 100, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater.
Workshop cost is $5. Lunch is available for purchase.
For information or to register, email [email protected] or call (727) 822-3480.
• • •
CARES, or Community Aging and Retirement Services Inc., is observing National Fall Awareness Day by sponsoring "Tai chi in the Park" at 10 a.m. Saturday at Anderson Park, Shelter 1, 39699 U.S. 19 N in Tarpon Springs.
During the free, one-hour demonstration, attendees will learn how tai chi helps improve balance, mobility and flexibility.
To learn more, call Pat at (727) 862-9291, ext. 2018 or visit caresfl.org.
• • •
Metabolix Wellness, a medical practice with a focus on health rather than disease, invites the public to a total wellness seminar with Dr. Brent Agin, who will discuss testing for inflammation, hormone optimization, telomere testing, IV nutritional therapy and medically supervised weight loss at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 26212 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater.
Agin is board-certified in family medicine, receiving both his undergraduate degree and medical degree from Michigan State University and completing his internship and residency at the University of South Florida.
Light hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served. Seating is limited.
To reserve a seat, call (727) 230-1438. Visit metabolixwellness.com.
Mail health news to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email [email protected]