UMHS Goes Back to School
This fall, U-M faculty, staff and medical students head back into area schools to provide medical care, education and mentorship. Three particular programs demonstrate how UMHS is making a difference in our communities.
Health care in the classroom
Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools, a partnership between UMHS and the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor School districts, provides at-risk students with health care in three school-based health centers: HealthPlace 101 at Scarlett Middle School and Stone High School in Ann Arbor; and the Wellness Center at East Middle School in Ypsilanti. The centers are staffed by UMHS nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and social workers who provide acute and chronic illness care, dental, vision and hearing screenings, mental health services, nutrition and general health education, life skills training and more.
“School-based health care is a safety net for kids, some of whom can’t seek treatment until the issue is really bad, usually resulting in visits to urgent care or the ER ,” says Jennifer Salerno, R.N., M.S., C.P.N.P., RAHS director. “Giving these kids the care they need allows them to focus on learning.”
Training for the future
Health Occupations Partners in Education, a partnership between the U-M and Ypsilanti Public School District, is a program for students in grades 6–12 intended to attract underrepresented and disadvantaged students to careers in the biomedical sciences and health care. Teachers, scientists, medical students, graduate students and others work to improve students’ academic achievement, assist with college applications and provide in-class and after-school academic enrichment programs. HOPE also provides career presentations, field trips, mentoring, job shadowing and the Summer Science Institute.
“Students have told me they probably wouldn’t have pursued a career in medicine, nursing, health or science, or attended college if HOPE wasn’t at their school,” says Yolanda Campbell, M.P.H., program director. “I get excited when students tell me they still keep in touch with their mentors and how they’ve had such a positive impact on their lives.”
(The HOPE Web site is currently under construction. If you have questions about this program, e-mail Yolanda Campbell.)
Healthy habits for life
Staffed by MFit exercise and nutrition experts, Project Healthy Schools is a 12-week program for Ann Arbor middle school students that incorporates fun, interactive activities with education to help kids build a foundation for wellness. Sixth-graders get initial screenings and surveys to measure their overall health, physical activity level and eating habits. Then, they participate in weekly activities to learn about eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast and fatty foods, making better beverage choices, exercising at least 150 minutes each week and spending less time in front of the TV and computer.
“We’ve had very positive feedback and we know we’re changing behaviors,” says Jean DuRussel-Weston, MFit Community Health Initiatives program administrator and PHS manager. In its third year, PHS has helped more than 700 students.
Is your unit/program/team working with community youth? Tell us about it! E-mail a summary to Inside View.