202442 "Healthy Body, Healthy Me": An innovative university, school, and community partnership in Baltimore County, MD

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Theresa K. Jackson, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Science, Towson University, Towson, MD
Michelle Freda, BS , Department of Health Education, Dumbarton Middle School, Baltimore, MD
Deitra Wengert, PhD , Towson University, Towson, MD
Kristen Cooke, BS , Department of Health Science, Towson University, Towson, MD
Kim Tran, BS , Department of Health Science, Towson University, Towson, MD

The Coordinated School Health Program Model (CSHPM) suggests schools cannot alone maintain the health of our nation's youth and that a variety of interrelated components, including community involvement and health education, are responsible. The “Healthy Body, Healthy Me” health fair partnership is an innovative, collaborative effort between an undergraduate health education department and a community middle school designed to improve the youth's health while simultaneously providing an experiential learning opportunity for participating undergraduates.


Each semester, 150 7th-grade students are inventoried to determine their health interests and needs. As part of a college course requirement, undergraduate health education students work in teams of 3-4 to develop, implement, and evaluate health fair booths to address the most-requested topics. Undergraduates develop objectives, innovative educational strategies, and an evaluation plan for their booths. They also work to secure funding and collaborations with local agencies to connect the 7th-graders with community-based programs and resources related to their topics.


Two semesters' worth of data (N=273) suggest adolescents experience statistically significant (p < .05) gains in health knowledge as a result of fair participation. Results of a satisfaction survey suggest they additionally enjoy the interactive setting with college student educators. Undergraduates appreciate participating in an experiential rather than theoretical course experience while serving local youth.


There is great potential for partnerships among academia, schools, and community organizations. Programs such as the “Healthy Body, Healthy Me” health fair benefit all stakeholders and are consistent with the goals of community health education and the CSHPM.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Participants will be able to list the 8 components of the Coordinated School Health Program Model and will discuss how innovative partnerships are consistent with the model. (2) Participants will be able to analyze the forces that facilitate and constrain the development of university, community, and school partnerships. (3) Participants will be able to describe the benefits of developing a partnership that involves school, community, and a university for all entities involved.

Keywords: Partnerships, School Health Educators

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Health Education in the Department of Health Science at Towson University. I have experiences working in both school and community settings for more than 5 years. In addition, I have presented at APHA twice before, once orally and once for a poster. I have also presented at numerous other local and national meetings. My MPH is in Health Behavior and Health Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, and my doctorate is in Public and Community Health from the University of Maryland at College Park.
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.