Online Program

Creating champions for school health: A step-by-step approach for staff engagement

Monday, November 2, 2015

Alyssa M. Lederer, MPH, CHES, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Mindy Hightower King, PhD, Center on Education and Lifelong Learning, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Laura Mesker, Welborn Baptist Foundation, Evansville, IN
Christina Ash, Welborn Baptist Foundation, Evansville, IN
Background: An integral component of coordinated school health (CSH) programs is staff wellness. Engaging school staff should both improve their health and help them model healthful behaviors for students. However, there is limited information available about effective strategies that can garner staff involvement.  

Purpose: This study presents the design and impact of HEROES Champions, a voluntary protocol developed to supplement and support the HEROES Initiative, a tri-state school-based childhood obesity prevention program.

Significance: This study fills an important gap in the literature regarding how school staff can effectively be involved in school-based interventions.

Methods: School staff engaged in a consensus building process to determine three nutrition and physical activity action items to which they would commit during spring 2014. Implementation and outcomes were assessed with staff from two elementary schools in southern Indiana who participated in a multi-method evaluation consisting of an online survey (N=63) and then two focus groups (N=20 participants total) that elucidated the quantitative data.

Results: The majority of staff members chose to participate in the program. They reported engaging in more physical activity and nutrition-related behaviors than prior to the program and that peer support was a crucial motivator. HEROES Champions effectively helped staff members take ownership over their own health and serve as role models for students.

Conclusions/Recommendations: HEROES Champions successfully engaged staff in school-based wellness efforts. This type of program can support school-based interventions across a variety of health issues and is easily replicable. Implementation recommendations will be provided.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the rationale for engaging staff in school-based wellness efforts. Design a program to enhance school staff’s healthful behaviors. Identify programmatic best practices for school staff based on the HEROES Champions evaluation.

Keyword(s): School-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Graduate Research Assistant for HEROES and coordinated the HEROES Champions study. I received my MPH in Behavioral Science and Health Education from Emory University and am currently a doctoral candidate and Associate Instructor at Indiana University.
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.