UK Team Selected by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Address Children's Health Challenges in Casey County

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has selected five UK professors to serve in its Clinical Scholars program. From left: Craig Miller, Angela Grubbs, Julie Plasencia, Audrey Darville and Charles Carlson. Photo by Renee Fox.

A team from the University of Kentucky has been selected to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Clinical Scholars leadership program to address children's health and education in Appalachia.

The UK team of five, which includes a dentist, dietitian, two nurse practitioners and a clinical psychologist, will receive $525,000 for their project "Coordinating Activities to Support Empowerment of Youth (CASEY) Health." The group is focusing on addressing a "wicked problem" in Appalachia by designing and evaluating a health education curriculum for elementary school children in Casey County, Kentucky.

UK's RWJF Clinical Scholars team includes:

This diverse team of clinicians will develop and coordinate a program that empowers children, 8-12 years old, by communicating evidenced-based science, in an interactive format, to make healthy decisions. With the involvement of school officials, community members, education experts and local stakeholders, the team’s goal is to develop a freely available, 10-lesson curriculum that targets healthy decision-making, meets Kentucky Academic Standards and is used statewide.

The curriculum will cover five elements of health, including:

  • preventing illness/injuries and risky behaviors;
  • emphasizing the importance of oral health;
  • abstaining from all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes);
  • eating healthy/nutritious foods; and
  • emphasizing the importance of physical activity.

"Our efforts are expected to yield improvements in health beliefs, knowledge and behaviors at the end of the project and for years to come," the team said.

The RWJF leadership programs connect leaders across the country — from every profession and field — to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities. To learn more about Clinical Scholars and RWJF’s other leadership programs, visit www.clinical-scholars.org.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for,”  and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.

 

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