ARCH offers free health screenings

Brooke Holden, Staff Writer

The Advancing Rural Community Health Program (ARCH) of Francis Marion University (FMU) will be sponsoring a free health screening on Friday, March 15.  The screening is open to the public and will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Center for the Child.

One registered nurse, an FMU graduate student and the seven members of the ARCH faculty will be on site to complete the screening.

The ARCH program began as an idea of FMU President Fred Carter. Since the recruitment of Dr. DeMarco in 2008, the ARCH programs has been operating in the community and has served more than 3,500 people in Marion, Marlboro and rural counties around Florence.  The program is an undergraduate fellowship and offers students a chance to go out into the community and assist in healthcare-related environments.

“Dr. DeMarco said one directive of Dr. Carter’s envision of the program was to work primarily in the rural counties around Florence. ARCH concentrates its efforts in small, rural churches, schools, community centers and sometimes in a pharmacy.

This is the first time the program will host a screening on a campus.

We try to put them in places where we’re likely to come into contact where folks are underserved,” DeMarco said.

Each screening will consist of height, weight, body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure tests. A hemoglobin A1C test, which measures diabetic control over a period of three months, will be available for those with or at risk of diabetes. A small blood sample will be taken from a finger prick and test results will be available immediately.

There will be nutrition counseling offered for people wanting information on controlling high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight loss.

Information on smoking cessation and referrals to the S.C. Tobacco Quitline will also be provided.


ARCH is not requiring appointments for the screenings.

For more information on these screenings or FMU’s ARCH program, contact Paul DeMarco, MD at (843) 661-1845 or email