Harbor Hospital Drives Innovative Program in Four Baltimore Schools
Bank of America Grant Helps Bring Much Needed Healthcare to Communities
BALTIMORE, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A program designed by Harbor Hospital to improve the health and well-being of more than 1,400 students, their families and school staff, will celebrate its launch Thursday, Aug. 25, at Arundel Elementary/Middle School at 9am. The Cherry Hill Healthy Schools Healthy Families Program uniquely includes putting a hospital-employed registered nurse in four schools.
“The health of children should not be a matter of luck or chance,” said Dennis Pullin, President of Harbor Hospital. “We know a student’s health is linked to their academic success and affects their ability to learn. Health related issues stemming from obesity, chronic illness, hunger, diabetes, asthma, and poor nutrition can be dramatically affected with the right resources in place.”
The Bank of America has endorsed the program with a $50,000 grant. Since the late 1990s, the bank has funded efforts by Harbor Hospital’s parent, MedStar Health, to deliver healthcare to elementary students living in at-risk neighborhoods.
When Pullin assumed his role as Harbor Hospital’s president two years ago, he immediately began efforts to enhance Harbor’s presence as a health partner to the community. Harbor Hospital serves some of the most vulnerable communities of Baltimore. As a member of MedStar Health’s nine-hospital system, it also had additional support to help foster healthy behavior patterns among its youngest members.
With the start-up grant from the Bank of America, and proceeds from the hospital’s first signature gala, the 2010 Water Ball, Harbor Hospital will employ a registered nurse, known as a School Health Resource Coordinator (SHRC), to attend Arundel Elementary/Middle School, Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School, Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle School and Patapsco Elementary School.
At each location, the SHRC will create a School Health Team comprised of parents, staff, school nurses, health aides and community members, who will help identify the specific needs of each school. As a nurse educator, the health resource coordinator will facilitate access to services for children who have identified health needs, promote healthy activities and wellness programs for parents and staff, collaborate with local community health resources to provide health education, and serve as a liaison between the hospital and the community.
“This hospital has grown with these communities for more than 100 years,” Pullin added. “We are a unit, integrated in the neighborhoods through our various outreach programs, screenings and seminars, but with the Cherry Hill Healthy Schools Healthy Families Program, we are really touching the future. We hope that by extending the continuum of care further into the schools, and working with our community partners, we can positively impact the lifestyles of kids and their families.”
“Every school day there is an opportunity to learn about the importance of healthy lifestyles and to develop and practice skills necessary to engage in healthy behaviors,” said Matthew Carpenter, principal of Arundel Elementary/Middle School. “Ideally, the students will take these learned behaviors home and share them with their families. We’re very excited about this collaboration with Harbor Hospital and eager to have them in our school.”
SOURCE Harbor Hospital