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UF to help medically needy

Megan Newton, 19, of Dade City, has temporarily interrupted her college education to travel across the country with the American Osteopathic Association's mobile health unit.

In celebration of 100 years of osteopathic medicine, the Association is sponsoring two trucks, which travel throughout the United States and offer free health screenings to the medically underserved.

As coordinator and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the unit that travels west of the Mississippi River, Newton's duties include contacting and training seven to eight local volunteers to staff the unit for the one to three days spent at each location.

"Some locations have no physicians for miles around," says Newton. "I have been in the middle of a South Dakota hay field where farmers and their wives came over the hills to receive the screenings."

The screenings include cholesterol, blood pressure, pulmonary lung function, vision, hearing, and a brief structural examination. An osteopathic physician is on board to review the test results with the participants. They serve an average of 60 people each day.

After visiting 48 states since June 1991, the units will end their trek in October at the National Health Fair in Washington, D.C. Newton's plans include returning to the University of Florida as a sophomore where she may study to become a physician's assistant. She is the daughter of Dr. S.E. and Jane Newton of Dade City.

Information about people and events in East and Central Pasco (including Dade City, Zephyrhills and Land O'Lakes) must be sent in writing one week before the event to Suzanne Hayes, Pasco Times, 301 E Meridian Ave., Suite 214, Dade City 33525. For information in East Pasco, call (904) 521-5757. In Land O'Lakes, call (813) 996-6796. Elsewhere, call (800) 333-7505.