Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:39PM - 282 Views

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Chad Abshire

Staff Writer

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of four articles covering the open house that the Mingo County Extended Learning Center held Tuesday, Oct. 23.)

DELBARTON — The Mingo County Extended Learning Center held an open house Tuesday evening, which featured a variety of health activities for the public to participate in and in-depth access to the center’s inner workings.

The event’s theme was “Stayin’ Alive,” like the BeeGees, Marcella Cooper, secretary of the center, said with a laugh.

She told the Daily News that the public could take advantage of a number of screenings at the event, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen, vision and hearing. There were also tables full of informational pamphlets regarding drug and alcohol awareness and another table dealing with breast cancer awareness.

There were also pairs of goggles that, when worn, simulated being drunk. Those who wore the goggles experienced the impairment one has while intoxicated, and learned of the dangers involved. But they always seemed to end up laughing with the rest of the crowd gathered around them once the goggles were off.

A pair of clowns, along with other people dressed up, roamed the halls with treat bags full of fun items, like coloring books and healthy handouts for children.

Although the center lost a number of programs with the consolidation of the county’s high schools, including some of its adult education classes, a number of them are still available.

In fact, that was one of reasons for the open house.

“To make the public ware of programs we have and let people know that we’re still here,” Cooper said. “It’s also to make the public aware of health issues.”

One program in particular was the medical office technology class, which teaches students the necessary skills to successfully work in a medical office.

Alichia Marsico, the course’s instructor, spoke with the Daily News.

She said that her students learn to handle patient information, schedules, filing, medical terminology, answer telephones, do billing and accounting, acquire a variety of computer skills and more. Phlebotomy was also recently added to the course to make students further attractive to potential employers.

Marsico also said that her students also do 140 hours of on-the-job training in two 70-hour practicums, which resembles an internship in practice. Doctors who have participated in the program include Dr. Wilson, Dr. Francis, Dr. Soma, Dr. Singh and Dr. Ali, along with Williamson Memorial Hospital.

“The class prepares the students well,” Marsico said. “They learn a lot of good skills and they get comfortable with all the software they need to know.”

Tomorrow’s article will cover the center’s LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) program; Friday’s article will be on the Gifted Students program and Saturday’s article will be over other features available and what the center hopes to achieve in its future.

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