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MSU-Paducah hosts Regional Wellness Summit

Staff report

The second Regional Wellness Summit took place March 7 at the Murray State University-Paducah Regional Campus. The summit was a free event for teachers, school nurses, school administrators, health departments and community health educators and provided professional development and continuing education units.

The purpose was to assist school districts and their community health coalitions to work together to create or strengthen wellness policies.

"Coordinated School Health programs require community involvement, which is an excellent opportunity for schools to collaborate with their local health coalitions," said Dr. Miranda Terry, assistant professor and director of public and community health, department of applied health sciences at Murray State, who serves on the board of directors for the Purchase Area Health Connections and was committee chairwoman.

"We wanted to provide a platform to get the discussion started as well as provide resources and networking opportunities for the schools to create their school health advisory committees."

Keynote speakers included Jamie Sparks, Kentucky coordinated school health director for the Kentucky Department of Education, and MeMe Perdue, Kentucky state coordinator for Action for Healthy Kids. Sparks led a working group session on coordinated school health. Nancy Gibson, assistant superintendent of district relations at Henderson County Schools, presented in this session about how to implement the Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program into each school, using her school as an example. Perdue led a working group session on the School Health Index, using that information to create action plans to continuously improve the health outcomes of each school, and how to use that information for grant opportunities.

The summit was made possible by the donations of Passport Health Plans, WellCare Health Plans, Action for Healthy Kids and Purchase District Health Department. Funding from these sponsors also provided opportunities for participating schools to receive mini-grants to create active classrooms and offset substitute teacher coverage costs for participating school districts.

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