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Past Featured Member
Futures Through Intervention and Innovation is a collaborative partnership
between the Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, the Georgia State
University School of Nursing and College of Health and Human Sciences,
the Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Area Health Education Center,
Southeastern Primary Care Consortium. The purpose of the partnership is
to create a healthy school environment that will support and nurture a
dynamic learning environment for students, children, their families, and
the greater community. The middle school is located in The Empowerment
Zone of downtown Atlanta with the collaborative partners surrounding the
school in close proximity to this urban setting.
The partners are committed to these goals:
- Preparing professional health sciences students
with advanced knowledge and clinical expertise in their developing and
changing roles as leaders in health care.
- Exposing middle school students to health professional
roles for their future consideration.
- Providing quality health care consultation
with a special emphasis on those children and families who are considered
to be in transition either in development, behavioral changes, or health
- Initiating and sustaining new and current community
partnerships that provide avenues for health-enhancing lifestyles for
children and their families.
- Designing, implementing, evaluating, and monitoring
innovative strategies that are uniquely tailored to meet the special
developmental, behavioral, and health needs of children and their families.
- Providing interdisciplinary community-based
services that are distinguished by accessibility, affordability, and
continuity and are notably satisfying to the client and the provider.
- Designing and implementing a research database
that serves as an evaluative longitudinal framework for revising educational
approaches and health care models for families within communities.
- Facilitating evidence-based outcome-focused
research that will positively impact the health and learning interventions
of the school community.
The partnership emerged in 1997 following initial collaboration
by the Georgia State University Nursing Student Association and the NFL
Youth Education Town Director around support for the health and learning
needs of the middle school-age students at King. Annual community-supported
health fairs were initiated. Funds from the federal Health Resources and
Services Administration were then awarded through the partnership with
Morehouse School of Medicine to establish a Math & Science Academy held
each summer. With the School of Nursing placement of a Pediatric Nurse
Practitioner faculty on site three days/week, the partnership continued
to strengthen. This faculty member orients, supervises, and facilitates
the clinical experiences of students rotating through the school health
experience. With a mission, intended outcomes, and interdisciplinary strategies,
the partnership was now formalized with a plan for the middle school as
an integrated learning, practice, service, and research entity. The Chamber
of Commerce now recognizes this as a formal partnership and new partners
continue to join in serving the teachers, staff, students, and families
of the King Middle School Community. King Middle School has been nominated
three times for an A+ award for partnership activities with specific recognition
and selection as an Innovative Partnership in 1999. As the partnership
continued to strengthen, King Middle School soon received recognition
as an Urban Learning Center and a 21st Century Community Center. With
these new designations the activities of the partnership expanded to include
special projects, innovative health education session, technology support,
and program evaluation efforts. Currently, a special focus of the partnership
is that of Healthy Futures Through Innovation and Intervention; a thoughtfully
planned demonstration project guided by the Comprehensive
School Health Model of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Benefits & Challenges
There are many benefits for all partners and stakeholders
of this community-focused, school-based partnership.
- A creative learning environment
- Opportunities to integrate teaching, service/practice,
- Exposure to alternative health care settings
for health professional students (for example, nursing student interest
in school health as a career option is heightened)
- Exposure to health professional careers for
middle school students
- Access to reputable health education resources
for students, parents, teachers, and staff
- Opportunities to engage the community into
the life of the school.
Challenges include continuing cooperation from the school
system in light of the new Education Reform Mandates and school system
accountability for student achievement. Another challenge has been gaining
and sustaining continued parental involvement
Tips & Lessons Learned
The partners have learned many important lessons throughout
the process of building this partnership. These include:
- Start with building trust in the school community.
Trustworthiness of the partners is essential to the future success of
- It is ritical to work WITH the community and
partners and not impose ideas. Engage input from the grassroots level
and community opinion leaders on an ongoing basis.
- Bi-directional communication and relationship
building is vital to sustaining the work of the partnership.
- Documenting the evidence related to all outcomes
of the partnership will only strengthen future opportunities for support
(both fiscal and other resources).
For More Information
This published paper further elaborates the partnership
history and mutual Benefits: Pittman, K.P., Wold, J.L., Wilson, A.H.,
Huff, C., and Williams, S. (2000). Community connections: Promoting Family
Health. Family & Community Health: The Journal of Health Promotion & Maintenance,
23 (2), 72-78.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle
Georgia State University School
Morehouse School of Medicine
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