College of Nursing Partners With Cincinnati Health Department to Expand School Wellness Program
Published June 2007
During a recent visit to Harmony Community School, College of Nursing professor Elaine Miller gave an impromptu lesson on diabetes to a staff member.
She was there to discuss nutrition with students, but the education she and other College of Nursing faculty and students provide goes beyond just Harmony students.
The college has been working with students and their families at Harmony School on health issues ranging from weight loss and healthy eating to stroke and diabetes for the last two years.
Now nursing faculty are partnering with the Cincinnati Health Department to expand their services to include a nurse practitioner who will conduct well-child assessments in addition to the educational sessions.
“The Cincinnati Health Department is reorganizing its focus to include more hands-on, community-based approaches to health care, especially for youth,” says health commissioner Noble Maseru, PhD.
“The research expertise the College of Nursing has will help us develop evidence-based data and determine what works and what doesn’t,” he adds.
The college is in the process of hiring a nurse practitioner as part of this one-year pilot project that officially begins Sept. 1. The nurse practitioner will work with College of Nursing faculty, students and Harmony’s school nurse, Homer Phillips, to assess students’ health and help them access the health care system. The practitioner will also aid the college with research related to data collected at Harmony, such as the height and weight of students, blood pressure, body mass index, etc.
“We’re working together to achieve common goals of promoting health and helping children access health care,” says Miller.
“Many students in vulnerable populations, such as those at Harmony, are not regularly exposed to health professionals,” she says. “This program helps us increase their familiarity and comfort level with health care providers.”
Assistant Professor Robin Lee, who helped implement the college’s school health program at Harmony two years ago, says the middle and high school students and their parents are not the only ones benefiting from the experience.
“College of Nursing students are future health care providers, and this program allows them to interact cross-culturally and get valuable, hands-on experience,” she says.
Lee says the middle and high school students generally relate better to the nursing students because there is often less of an age gap.
The nurse practitioner in the program will also provide services to select Cincinnati public schools in addition to Harmony.
“The idea is to start small and make sure what we’re doing is working before we implement the program into additional schools,” says Miller.
“Our long-term goal is to develop a sustainable program that empowers the school, students and their parents to be proactive about their health.”