201136 Team Health and TAP: A school-community-university partnership to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

Kathleen W. Smith , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
Amanda S. Birnbaum, PhD, MPH , Department of Health & Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Pamela S. Scott , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
Marian Z. Stern, MPA , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
Izumi Hara, JD , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
Davida Isaacson, MBA , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
Ruth A. Cherence , Mountainside Health Foundation, Montclair, NJ
This presentation describes a replicable community-school-university health promotion partnership. “Team Health” was developed by a community foundation as a school-based initiative to increase physical activity (PA) and healthy eating. Schools were required to form multi-disciplinary teams to increase the likelihood of schoolwide buy-in and awareness. Six schools were awarded up to $7,500 each to perform a needs assessment, then develop and implement an action plan with measurable results. One school identified fighting and discipline during recess as a barrier to students' PA and therefore implemented conflict avoidance programming and stenciled creative playspaces on the blacktop. For healthy eating, they grew herb gardens, integrated the project into academic curricula (e.g. charting plant growth) and developed and tasted healthy recipes using classroom crops. Several schools purchased Dance Dance Revolution to rev up the PA in physical education classes; one developed individual student fitness plans.

The funder recognized the need for technical assistance to help grantees confront real-world challenges, increase evidence-based practices and enhance sustainability. Team Health TAP (Technical Assistance Program) assisted with mid-course adjustments and program evaluation. A grant to a local university covered a professor's services and student assistant stipends. TAP augmented school teams' knowledge base and provided field-work opportunities for students.

Team Health and TAP are small scale in relative dollars awarded yet large scale in school community impact. This framework is easily replicated by community funders, schools and universities. Given the restrictive economy, similar partnerships should be encouraged so constrictive school budgets will not impede childhood obesity prevention efforts.

Learning Objectives:
After attending this session, the participant will be able to: 1) list different program packages that can be implemented for $7,500 or less; 2) explain the value of school, local university and community foundation partnering to launch effective school health promotions in a restrictive economic period; 3) discuss the opportunities for universities to lead technical assistance programs with public schools to improve program outcomes and evaluations while providing field work experience for students.

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Funding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: none
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.