Online Program

Community partnership to promote influenza prevention and academic success among elementary school students

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sara Plaspohl, DrPH, CHES, Department of Health Sciences, Armstrong State University, Savannah, GA
Betty Dixon, DrPH, RN, Department of Nursing and Clinical Services, Coastal Health District, Savannah, GA
Literature provides evidence that school attendance correlates with student academic performance and success. Influenza is a contributing factor to school absences. Primary prevention for influenza includes immunization. School-located influenza vaccine (SLIV) programs provide greater access for students to be immunized. A community partnership between a local public health district, a county board of education, and a public state university was formed to study the relationship between a local SLIV program and school attendance, exploring the possibility that SLIV-immunized students missed fewer days of school, thus promoting not only primary prevention but also program efficacy. A retrospective review of existing data examined the relationship between SLIV participation and absenteeism among students at 8 public elementary schools in Effingham County, Georgia, during three academic years (2010-2013). The study assessed whether there was a difference in average absenteeism among students who participated in the SLIV program versus those who did not. Results indicated there was a significant difference, with SLIV-immunized students having lower average absenteeism than those who did not participate in the program. Implications for practice include the potential for increased herd immunity among students, which may also extend to other parties such as school personnel and family members, and increasing the likelihood of students' academic success due to decreased absenteeism. Overall, the project showcases an example of productive collaboration between community partners to promote public health within the context of a school setting.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe a school-located influenza vaccine (SLIV) program, including its potential benefits for primary prevention and student academic success. Discuss relationship between SLIV program and school absenteeism. Identify collaborative roles of community partners to support SLIV programs within the school setting.

Keyword(s): School-Based Programs, Primary Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the research project to be presented. I am an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences/Public Health at a state public university, with a terminal degree in public health (DrPH), and work closely with local community partners, including public health district administrators, for educational and research initiatives. My school is one of the community partners involved with this specific project.
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.