The Massachusetts Action Coalition will build on its previous Innovations Fund award by providing nurse facilitators and others appropriate resources to educate students about the dangers of vaping. The Action Coalition will work with representatives of partner organizations to create an evidence-based and adaptive curriculum based on existing state and national resources. The goal of the project is to evaluate and disseminate vaping curriculum to school systems throughout the state.
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.