Health and Wellness Task Force
When Kathryn Limmer, MD, a Pediatrician at CHOP Care Network Flourtown, agreed to be a volunteer mentor at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Southwest Philadelphia a few years ago, she didn’t anticipate how invested she would become in the health of the teachers and the 250 students of the independent K – 8 school.
A casual conversation about health grew into a brainstorming session with school staff, parents and community health professionals that spawned the Health and Wellness Task Force, which she now co-chairs.
As the task force began to envision what a healthier school might look like, Limmer recommended using the School Health Index, an assessment tool created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to determine the school’s current “health.”
The index evaluates areas such as physical education and physical activity, nutrition, tobacco use, asthma, unintentional injury and violence prevention, and sexual health, including prevention of HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
Limmer led the task force through eight self-assessment areas: health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling, psychological and social services, healthy school environment, health promotion for staff, and family/community involvement. She also facilitated planning for improvement and then identifying top priority actions.
“It has been my honor to work with these caring professionals and community members who have such great hopes and dreams for the children in this community,” Limmer says. “We still have work to do, but we know we’re on a good path to helping these students live healthier lives.”
Providing continuity of care to vulnerable populations
Margery Schonfeld, MD, understands that not all families have the resources to bring their children to a doctor, including the CHOP Care Network Central Bucks primary care practice where she’s a Pediatrician.
One evening a month, she sees children as a volunteer pediatrician at the Anne Silverman Community Health Clinic, located at Doylestown Hospital. The clinic’s mission is to provide free medical and dental care for uninsured and low income adults and children in central Bucks County, including immigrants whose primary language is not English. The clinic operates with a small full-time staff and relies on volunteer physicians and interpreters. Schonfeld also makes herself available for phone consultations and to review test results as needed.
“Over the years, I have come to know many of the families who receive care there,” Schonfeld says. “It is extremely gratifying to be able to provide continuity of care to such a vulnerable population of children.”
Beyond primary care
When Wendy Wallace, DO, a Pediatrician in the CHOP Care Network North Hills office, thinks about the health and well-being of the children in West Chester, she considers those beyond the scope of the primary care practice.
Wallace is president of the board of trustees for the Care Center Foundation, a nonprofit that supports young families and single parents in West Chester. The Care Center’s facility houses an Early Head Start program (for children 6 months to 3 years) and a pre-K program (for 3- to 5-year-olds).
“Our program also supports the young families with meals, clothing and education support,” Wallace says. “While my involvement in the Care Center is nonclinical, the overall health of the children and families in our program is of high importance. There are no TVs or superheroes, but a lot of behavioral support, reading and activities.”
Teaming up for health education
Physicians and staff from the CHOP Care Network Kennett Square practice and interpreters from CHOP’s Language Services Department teamed up for health education at the fourth annual Vive tu Vida! (Live Your Life) Get Up! Get Moving!® event in Kennett Square. The CHOP-sponsored table shared health- and safety-related information with an estimated 2,000 people who attended.
Healthy Heart Day
Jennifer McDonald, DO, FAAP, a Pediatrician and Medical Director of the CHOP Care Network West Grove primary care office, helped organize the Healthy Heart Day at Pocopson Elementary School in February. Third, fourth and fifth graders visited interactive stations, learning how the heart functions and about healthy eating and exercise.