Non-Profit Educates Public, Saves On Healthcare

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-23 19:23:15-04

Inside a room at Smyrna's Event Center chatter filled the air, and every word spoken was more like a helping hand. They all had one topic in common: health.

The health fair was the brain child of Doctor Manny Sethi, a Vanderbilt trauma surgeon.

"The one thing I've been seeing across Tennessee with my patients and others is just a lot of problems with diabetes, with obesity, things that we could treat on the front end rather than waiting until it gets too late," Sethi said. 

He took his concerns to politicians and policy makers but said his ideas fell on deaf ears.

"No one really was listening. Their eyes would glaze over as I talked to them," he explained. 

So he decided to move on without them, and Healthy Tennessee, a preventative health education non-profit, was born.

"For patients and folks to change behavior, they have to understand why. There has to be a light bulb that goes off in their head," said Sethi. 

His goal has been to help Tennesseans get control of their health before problems occur, saving hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of dollars in healthcare costs.

"This year in Tennessee we're spending about 25 to 30 percent of our budget taking care of health issues. That's not investments in education, that's not investments in our infrastructure, that's investments on health, on disease," Sethi said. 

However, he can't do it alone and has relied on volunteers like Smyrna firefighter and cross fit gym owner, Daniel Brownlow to help.

"To bring awareness in our job, this health fair for military and first responders, I mean our job relies on it, on our fitness. If we're not fit we cannot perform our duties and we put the public's safety at risk, and we put our safety at risk," Brownlow said. 

While Saturday's health fair did focus on the military and first responders, the general public was welcome to attend. For more information, click here.