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Doctor says it's all in the family

February 11, 2001|By JULIE E. GREENE

Doctor says it's all in the family



This is the second in a weeklong series of stories profiling members of the black community making a contribution in the Tri-State area.

Family comes first to William E. Royster Jr., whether it's his family at his Hagerstown home or his family of patients at Robinwood Family Practice.

His concern for the health of his community family led him to start an annual health fair last spring through his church, Hagerstown Seventh-day Adventist.

"I was interested in providing something for the community from a preventative standpoint," said Royster, 41, who joined the family practice in March 1997.

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Last year's health fair focused on general health, nutrition and safety.

Local agencies, such as Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley, Children's Village of Washington County and the Washington County Health Department, lent a hand with their expertise.

To entice people to try a healthier option, Royster set up grills of veggie burgers and imitation bacon for people to sample as substitutes for high cholesterol foods.

At this year's fair, on April 1 in the church's auditorium, Royster plans to add information on fitness and expand the health screenings available to the public, though a small fee might be added to help with the cost.

Royster got the idea for the health fair from a doctor he worked with in Atlanta, one of many people he's learned from over the years.

It was his father who made the biggest impression on him.

An educator, William Royster Sr., was involved in his community and showed great character, his son said.

"Couldn't ask for a better role model," Royster said of his father, who died shortly after Royster and his wife moved their family here so their three young children could be closer to their grandparents.

"I try to be someone certainly my children can look up to, too, youth in my neighborhood, in my church," Royster said.

"If you have good values and you display those, anyone can learn from you," he said.

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