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Bellerose Sikhs plan first-ever health fair

The rituals of Sikh worship at the Gurdwara Sant Sagar temple in Bellerose will take a back seat Sunday as doctors, attorneys and other medical professionals share their knowledge and give free advice at the temple's first medical fair.

Satnam Parher, the fair's principal organizer, said the event would feature seven doctors whose expertise spans internal medicine, hypertension, pulmonology, nephrology, gynecology, pediatrics and dentistry. The doctors are all fluent in one or more of the commonly spoken languages of India: Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.

Parher said he hopes the fair, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the temple at 242-25 Braddock Ave., will make important medical information available to a population that is often trapped behind a language barrier.

"In this community, we have mostly working-class people like taxi drivers," he said. "Most taxi drivers are highly educated, but the problem is language."

The fair will also include a blood drive, which over the past two years has attracted more than 140 donors, and bone-marrow registration, in which information on prospective marrow donors is collected through a simple blood test. Parher said he hopes to attract 400 people to the event.

Other resources will include experts on health insurance and Medicaid as well as two lawyers who will give advice on immigration and other issues of concern to the Sikh community.

Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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