Building upon its 2018 Nursing Innovations Fund award, the Massachusetts Action Coalition and partner organizations created an anti-vaping curriculum resource guide and disseminated to school systems throughout the state.
Summary of completed project
The Massachusetts Action Coalition partnered with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and school wellness committees to create statewide Advisory and Curriculum Development Committees which provided input into the development and dissemination of the anti-vaping curriculum. An evidence-based approach was used to review and evaluate relevant anti-vaping materials and programs. The committee recommended appropriate materials based on grade level. Involvement of the State Department of Secondary Education, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Superintendents Association resulted in distribution of the curriculum guide to all elementary and secondary schools within the state.
The Advisory Committee included representatives from the Superintendents’ Association, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Health Council, the Massachusetts School Nurses Association, the Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, school leadership including principals, counselors and schools resource officers, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Health Safety & Wellness Initiative, the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addictive Medicine, Collaborative Youth Program, the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the Department of Public Health Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program.
The Curriculum Committee included representatives from school districts across the state, including, school nurses, counselors, faculty, a superintendent and a curriculum consultant.
Statewide, multi-sector Advisory and Curriculum Committees were established. Their review and evaluation resulted in a comprehensive anti-vaping resource and curriculum guide that was circulated statewide. Additionally, the Action Coalition created a comprehensive communications plan, including key messages, strategies, and resources to promote the project.
The Massachusetts Action Coalition’s project, Promoting Health Literacy to Influence Health and Wellness of Students in the Community, aimed to develop a health literacy initiative for students in select communities. The initiative focused on engaging nurses to become active participants in existing school wellness committees. Participating nurses received training and access to resources from partners so they could be better positioned to shape school policies concerning school nutrition, physical activity, and other student health issues.
Summary of completed project
The project, Promoting Health Literacy to Influence Health and Wellness of Students in the Community, focused on developing innovative partnerships and collaborations with the National Library of Medicine and the Massachusetts Health Council (MHC) to provide collections of resources to local school nurses and other school wellness committee members through the engagement of nurses in the community. These nurses (called nurse facilitators) received training and access to resources from partners so they could be positioned better to shape school policies concerning school nutrition, physical activity, and other student health issues. Nurse facilitators were volunteers recruited from Massachusetts communities with the low rankings in the Health Outcomes and Health Factors categories in the 2018 County Health Rankings Report. Five initial nurse facilitators served as mentors to orient and support a total of 20 nurse facilitators who shared the resources to support and advance the work of their local school wellness councils.
The Action Coalition attributes much of its success to the partnerships that they forged with National Libraries of Medicine, MHC, Massachusetts School Nurses Association, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. The primary impact of this project has been increasing the awareness of school wellness committees and their impact on the health and wellness of school children. The process of identifying topics of interest to local school wellness committees resulted in the awareness that statewide, there was a serious concern around vaping. This has led to a strengthened partnership with the state superintendent’s association to develop educational programming and policies related to the statewide public health crisis with vaping.