HealthFest 2003 to Offer Healthy Living Ideas, Family Fun and Education on the National Mall

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2003) — This June, D.C.-area residents will be able to participate in one of the District’s largest and most diverse health fairs.

The two-day fun, educational and interactive event will be held on the National Mall between 3rd and 4th streets and the area around the Capitol reflecting pool. Dates of the event are Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22. The event is free and open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.

Bringing together more than 100 patient advocacy groups, healthcare providers, volunteer health organizations and the area’s leading biotechnology companies, HealthFest 2003 offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about preventative care, healthcare and the future of medicine.

Families will also be treated to live entertainment, celebrity appearances and a number of activities geared towards children.

“This will be a day of fun for the whole family. There will be interactive exhibits and demonstrations, free screenings, face painting for children, games and fitness challenges, food, live music and much more,” says Raymond J. Briscuso, executive director of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington, D.C. “HealthFest 2003 is about bringing people together and making them aware of the multitude of resources available in their own communities. It’s about learning how to start making the right decisions about their health and their future.”

For Jerry Stackhouse, HealthFest is a great venue to inform people about healthy living and how it relates to the prevention of disease. “Many of us overlook the importance of incorporating daily physical activity in our lifestyle,” said Stackhouse. “I am pleased to partner with BIO to educate D.C.-area residents about health and fitness and look forward to sharing some of my tips for living healthy, on and off the court.”

HealthFest 2003 attendees will be able to walk through interactive exhibits, mini-workshops and cooking demonstrations; visit an array of health and preventive care booths; take part in fun fitness clinics; get free health screenings; pick up educational materials; and enjoy live entertainment, including popular dance music from the Caribbean and Africa, performed by D.C.’s own reggae band, “Oasis.”

“Many people don’t realize what an integral role biotechnology plays in our lives — it affects many things around us, from the foods we eat, to household products we use each day, to protecting ourselves, our families and even our pets from diseases,” said Carl Feldbaum, president of BIO. HealthFest provides an opportunity for the public to learn about biotechnology, how it fits into the local community and how to make choices for healthy living.”

HealthFest is sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). It is the annual “kick-off” for the world’s largest biotechnology industry event — the BIO 2003 annual convention. HealthFest is designed to educate the general public, elected officials, industry stakeholders and other key constituencies about the latest medical research and therapies as well as raise awareness of local health services and patient advocacy groups.

Among other attractions, visitors to HealthFest 2003 can expect to:

  • Shoot some hoops with Jerry Stackhouse: NBA Wizards superstar Jerry Stackhouse will welcome attendees to a custom built basketball court specially designed for HealthFest. Stackhouse will talk to children about the importance of incorporating healthy eating habits and physical activity into their lives and host interactive games for special give-aways.
  • Take the President's Challenge with fitness and activity tips from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. Representatives from the Challenge program will lead a series of activities at HealthFest 2003 geared toward showing kids and families how to include activity and fitness in their lives.
  • Get Grooving with Crunch Fitness: Crunch Fitness, the industry leader for innovative group fitness programming, will teach some of the nation's most exciting classes including Latino Groove, Hip Hop and African Dance during special sessions at the Stackhouse basketball court.
  • Get cooking tips from a celebrity chef: Food Network sensation and host of “Cooking Thin,” chef Kathleen Daelemans, will host live cooking demonstrations at her “healthy cooking clinic” and share her favorite recipes for creating healthy meals for the entire family.
  • Experience life in NASA’s international orbiting laboratory: NASA will share the excitement of human space flight through an interactive International Space Station exhibit. Explorers, young and old, can walk through two 48-foot trailers to discover how research is conducted in space, speak with astronauts, and see what it’s like working in an orbiting laboratory.
  • Enjoy spectacular performances by Mad Science of Washington: A series of dramatic science shows presented by Mad Science of Washington will treat children and adults to lively performances throughout HealthFest. The shows bring alive the magic of science through interactive performances that make learning fun and involve a healthy dose of audience participation.
  • Play scientist for a day: Four state-of-the-art mobile laboratories from across the United States will give visitors the opportunity to experience the excitement of working in a biotechnology lab and participate in real-life bioscience experiments.
  • Explore the secret of life: The Smithsonian Institution will launch its innovative exhibit on the human genome during HealthFest. The Secret of How Life Works exhibit demystifies the genome and reveals its implications for health through content rich interactive learning stations, virtual reality displays and computer animations.

  • According to Briscuso, in addition to providing D.C.-area residents with information about leading healthier lifestyles, HealthFest 2003 gives visitors the chance to learn about the latest biotechnology research and therapies as well as how these advancements are helping shape their lives and the world.

    “We want to demystify science and encourage people to explore new ideas, products and services that are on the cutting edge of medicine,” said Briscuso. “I hope everyone who comes to HealthFest speaks with biotechnology industry representatives about new discoveries and learns how far the industry has come.”

    BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

    For more information on HealthFest 2003 and to receive additional materials, log on to:

    COVERAGE: Media with BIO press credentials and others planning to attend HealthFest 2003 are requested to sign-in at the Press Booth located at the corner of Madison and Third Streets. To schedule one-on-one interviews or live feeds from the event, contact Rabab Pettitt at Brightline Media at (703) 739-2424, ext 208 or at, or Deb Carstoiu at BIO at (202) 962-9219 or at

    # # #