TROY—Troy University has received a $375,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to extend its Healthy Schools Healthy Kids Healthy Families program.
Under the grant, awarded over the next three years, a comprehensive wellness program will be implemented in Union Springs Elementary School through a consortium consisting of the University, Bullock County School System, Main Drug Store, Bullock County Hospital and Southern Springs.
According to Dr. Bernita Hamilton, director of the University’s School of Nursing, three main goals exist for the Healthy Schools Healthy Kids Healthy Families program:
To demonstrate the benefit of a school-based comprehensive wellness model for elementary children in rural areas;
To change health behaviors of elementary children to more wellness focus; and
To continue and increase collaboration of the community to ensure wellness promotion in schools and communities.
A key component of the program calls for the placement of a full-time registered nurse in the school to direct the school’s health wellness program.
“Healthy Schools Healthy Kids Healthy Families plans to show how a designated health promotion nurse with community support can ultimately influence health behaviors in children and their families,” Dr. Hamilton said.
Eight years ago, a consortium of more than 20 community agencies in Pike County was formed to promote children’s health initiatives.
This partnership resulted in two phases of health promotion and illness prevention programs for school children.
Healthy Schools Healthy Kids Phase II added an intervention based on a national health program that emphasizes proper nutrition and physical activity through educational curricula and through changing environmental conditions in schools.
“Assessment of children in both phases revealed risks for future chronic conditions related to obesity,” Dr. Hamilton said.
“To continue the momentum started by the partnership, a more focused local model was needed. If successful with Phase III, this model can be replicated in other rural areas across Alabama and the nation.”