FLORENCE – Not only will Francis Marion University’s new Advancing Rural Community Health Program (ARCH) offer basic testing of blood pressure and blood sugar, but also extensive cholesterol, hemoglobin and kidney function screenings thanks to a Prevention Partners grant of $98,256.
The grant will pay for comprehensive health screenings for underserved patients to prevent chronic disease and promote early intervention. The screenings will be conducted by FMU’s ARCH Program and the major primary care providers in Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg Counties (Marion Regional Health System, CareSouth Carolina, and Black River Healthcare, respectively). The focus of the grant is on diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and kidney disease.
“Control of diabetes and hypertension, the two most common causes of deterioration in kidney function, is a difficult task at best, especially in our three county target area,” said Paul DeMarco, director of the ARCH Program. “Through this grant, we can offer screenings that may help a patient to see in more concrete terms that his or her kidney function is abnormal and spur action.”
The ARCH program plans to offer 60 screenings in 2008. Through paid fellowships offered through the ARCH program, FMU students will assist a supervising health care provider with the screenings. There will be two screenings a week for 15 weeks in each of the two semesters. The screenings will be divided equally among the three counties.
“As a physician, I am optimistic that these more in-depth screenings will provide a strong motivation for patients to become concerned about their health and make salutary changes,” said DeMarco. “I believe it will be another tool to help change patient behavior. It may also help stimulate a dialogue between the patient and the physician or other health care provider about kidney health.”
#86 / 12-05-07