Healthy Kids: Impacting Children’s Health in Rural Alabama
Significant changes have occurred in the healthcare community as a result of legislative decisions, the economic downturn, and long range effects of consistent annual reductions in public funding. Community partnerships have become vital to the existence of many areas of healthcare delivery, including the Alabama State Department of Education’s School Health Services Program which is charged with the oversight of the health of students while they are enrolled in Alabama public schools. This program, along with many state agencies, continues to struggle in finding creative ways to stretch every education dollar in order to adjust to the impact of across the board budget cuts. A decrease in the number of registered nurses and the increasingly complex medical issues of students requiring individualized care have potentially jeopardized the ability of school nurses to adequately monitor and detect changes in the overall health status of children in the Alabama School Health Services Program. Nursing, Medical Laboratory Sciences, and Communication Disorder students from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) conducted health screenings for school age children in medically underserved counties of rural Alabama. The purpose of this article will be to discuss the collaboration and implementation of an interprofessional, community-based, service-learning project entitled Healthy Kids.
Keywords: rural health; interprofessional collaboration; child health; service learning
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