Latasha Harris talks about what to expect for tomorrow’s Medical District Wellness Festival

The first Free Medical District Wellness Festival is set for tomorrow, Sept. 16th

Inaugural event will provide services and resources from area healthcare professionals

By Jeff Hulett

In collaboration with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) will host the inaugural Medical District Wellness Festival. Presented by Cigna Healthcare, this event will take place Saturday, September 16 from 11 AM – 3 PM at the newly renovated Morris Park (Located at 747 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38105).

This free event will provide services and resources from healthcare professionals, live music, and a full schedule of wellness activities and fun for all ages, including the following:

  • Live music by Courtney Little and the Runway DJ
  • Free Zumba Class @ the basketball courts with David Quarles – 11:45 AM
  • Black Seeds Urban Farm – Growing Station
  • Kids Zone – Face painting, bouncy house, games, and more
  • Church Health “Ask the Docs” Station
  • Vitalant Blood Drive
  • Free samples from local businesses
  • MMDC’s Hire Local will be recruiting people for training this fall

I sat down with Latasha Harris of the MMDC to talk about what this first festival will look like.

Jeff Hullet: What can people expect at the inaugural medical district wellness festival?

Latasha Harris: Our partners are working together to bring resources to the community. Festival goers can expect to find a range of health and wellness activities, meet clinicians who specialize in a health area, explore new transportation options, connect with programs that offer career training and wrap-around support, and enjoy the beautiful and newly renovated Morris Park. It is a family-friendly event too so we encourage people to bring their families and enjoy the KidZone, community vendors and if you are able- donate blood-our friends at Vitalent will be there with their mobile blood bank.

JH: This event seems like a long time coming – why now?

LH: MMDC runs a workforce program called, Hire Local, where we are helping residents upskill and obtain employment with our hospital partners. We have a tremendous opportunity to upskill 100+ families in the next year. However, we know that most families need a variety of supports to reach economic stability. And we have been brainstorming how to bring those resources to the masses. The festival idea was born from a group of young doctors we met who wished to meet patients well before a health crisis. With the support of Medical District partners like UTHSC, the festival was curated to address some of the health and non-health factors that affect daily life: access to training and economic stability, connection to others, transportation, and more – helping our neighbors connect to the resources they need fulfills our mission. It also brings together many aspects of the work we do at MMDC: business support, quality public realm, workforce, transportation, and events.

JH: What types of health screenings will be available?

LH: There will be vision screenings, blood pressure checks, exercise testing, flu and COVID shots. There will also be an “Ask the Docs” area where people can bring general health-related questions, a blood drive, and vendor stations focusing on sickle cell awareness, stroke interventions, and mental and reproductive health.

JH: Can you tell me about the live entertainment?

LH: The wellness festival will feature two local artists on one stage: Courtney Little and his band who will surely get the crowd moving and grooving with their soulful music. Also, The Runway DJ, Crystal Mercedes, is known for mixing house, hip-hop, and R&B with mainstream pop, rock, and a splash of reggae.

JH: Anything else you’d like to add?

LH: Don’t miss your chance to Zumba with David Quarles from 11:45-12:45p. And if you love or would like to try yoga, Sana Yoga will lead us in some meditation and exercise at 1pm. Three medical district vendors will also be giving out free wellness drink samples, K&B Smoothies, Sovereign Tea, and Groovy Gratitude. Find the MMDC table for your free event merch and a sample drink ticket.  We will have a few prizes to raffle off during the event as well. Lastly, Hire Local 901 will be there recruiting for fall classes.

For more information, visit the event page at Register to participate in the Vitalant Blood Drive here.


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