Health News

HEALTH BRIEFS: MTI students sweep HOSA events

MTI students sweep HOSA health events

MANATEE -- Students working toward degrees in health occupations at Manatee Technical Institute swept the HOSA State Leadership Conference held in Jacksonville, placing first in 16 of 23 events.

HOSA stands for Health Occupations Students of America. MTI students in the school's HOSA chapter are majoring in postsecondary fields such as pharmacy technician, dental assisting, nursing, and massage therapy.

"It's so exciting when they go and compete," said Mary Cantrell, director of MTI.

Among the many awards were: Gold for knowledge of dental terminology, nutrition, pharmacology; silver for medical terminology and dental science; bronze for sports medicine.

A team of students also won a gold medical for creating a Public Service Announcement encouraging people to clean out their medicine cabinets. It was the first time students from the school had entered the PSA competition.

Cantrell said students are encouraged to enter competitions to benchmark the school's curriculum. MTI aims to produce graduates who are able to sit for national certification tests in their fields. When they win against other schools, including ones that are out-of-state, it's a good indication that the MTI programs are strong, said Cantrell.

More than 30 MTI students who won at the state-level competition will compete in the national HOSA competition to be held in Orlando in June, she said.

Seminar will teach howto fall-proof your house

BRADENTON -- If you're an older adult, learn how to "fall-proof" your home, avoid injuries and eliminate the hazards for potential slips and falls.

Maria Avalos, health and wellness manager at the West Central Florida Agency on Aging, will present an hour-long seminar on fall and injury prevention at 1 p.m. May 10 at the South Manatee Branch Library, 6081 26th St. W., Bradenton.

The presentation is for adults older than 60 and those who attend will receive a free nightlight or keychain light.

Fall-proofing a house involves a simple checklist, said Avalos. Remove items that cause people to trip, such as throw rugs and loose electrical cords. Pay extra attention to the bathroom, where surfaces are hard, and the floor and tub are slippery.

"You can do things like use a chair in the bath and install grab bars," said Avalos, who also recommends that older people take a cell phone into the bathroom in case of an emergency.

The talk is free. For more information, call 800-963-5337 or visit and click on health/wellness.

Guide Dogs to celebrate with open house

PALMETTO -- Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc., 4210 77th St. E., Palmetto, will hold an open house to celebrate the organization's 30th anniversary from 9 a.m. to noon May 12.

Trainers will be on hand with their dogs to explain how a dog is taught to be a guide for the visually impaired and visitors will be able to tour the facility's puppy and dog training kennels.

A highlight will be the opportunity to see what it's like to be without sight and guided by a trained dog. Participants will wear sunglasses that block sight and be guided on the winding "Freedom Walk" by the dog.

"You pick up the harness like a blind person would and follow when the dog makes a turn," said Jennifer Bement, spokesperson for Southeastern Guide Dogs. "You don't even realize you're making the turns because the dog keeps you going in the right direction. It's pretty amazing."

Southeastern Guide Dogs breeds and trains Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers and Goldadors -- a mix of Labs and Goldens -- to be guide dogs. The process takes up to two years and involves sending the puppies at 9- to 10-week-old to "puppy raiser homes" throughout the Southeast for initial training.

People can get involved as "puppy huggers" at the Southeastern Guide Dogs facility; to acclimate the pups to being with the public, volunteers are needed for "early puppy socialization." They play with puppies that are 6 to 9 weeks old in the "puppy hugging room," which is open from 9 to 11 a.m. every day except Thursday and Saturday.

For more information, call 941-729-5665 or visit

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at