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The Catalyst

MUSC, Boeing Center for Children's Wellness wins award

By J. Ryne Danielson

MUSC’s Dr. Janice Key, right, of the Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness, receives the Wellness Frontiers Award from Debbie Witchey, executive vice president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, Feb. 18.

The Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition of health care chief executives from across the country, presented the Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness with its national Wellness Frontiers Award Feb. 18 at the MUSC Clyburn Research Center. The HLC wished to recognize the center for its innovative Docs Adopt school health initiative.

A partnership between Boeing, MUSC and the Charleston County School District, the Center for Children’s Wellness was created in 2007 to tackle the mounting problem of childhood obesity in the Lowcountry.

The BCCW’s Docs Adopt initiative encourages schools to form wellness committees and follow a checklist of healthy goals. Local doctors are urged to adopt a school and serve on its wellness committee. These doctors volunteer their skills and expertise to help schools meet their goals, and at the end of each school year, if the checklist has been completed, schools may qualify for a $1,000 award from Boeing.

Eugene Cochrane Jr., president of the Duke Endowment, was present for the award presentation. The Duke Endowment has also contributed to the initiative’s funding. “I’ve had the wonderful privilege of working with MUSC for 35 years,” he said. “The Health Care Leadership Council is very good at singling out projects that make a difference. MUSC and this project are joining a very select group, and I congratulate you for that.”

Lindsey Leonard, senior director of national strategy and engagement for the Boeing Company, spoke of the importance of the BCCW across the state. “The Center’s presence and outreach to children and teachers in South Carolina is having a far more significant cultural impact than the people they directly reach,” she said. “Teachers and children are able to take these healthy living practices home to their parents and larger communities.

“Boeing believes in the importance of healthy students, who are prepared to learn more effectively by reducing absence and illnesses, so they can be the best they can be in school. For any of you who have been to Boeing, you’ve seen that we have high-tech and highly skilled jobs. We would like for future Boeing employees to be coming from South Carolina, so we know we have to invest in generations to come, and that means nurturing young people through health and wellness and education.

“While the Center started in the Lowcountry, it has now expanded statewide and to Pennsylvania,” Leonard continued. “We’re thrilled to know that we will be able to see statistically significant results in the reduction of childhood obesity and increased community health in a shorter amount of time than anyone anticipated. At Boeing, we continue to be impressed and excited by the great work that is done by this fantastic team, and we’re really proud to be here to support you today.”

Michelle Nimmons, director of human resources and the comprehensive health education coordinator for Bamberg County’s second school district, thanked MUSC and Boeing for their support. “Our teachers and students are so fired up,” she said. “We’ve been able to do some wonderful things around nutrition education for children and parents.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Debbie Witchey, executive vice president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, presented the 2016 Wellness Frontiers Award to Janice Key, M.D., director of the MUSC’s Division of Adolescent Medicine and the Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness.

“The greatest challenge our health care system faces in the years ahead is the rapidly growing incidence of chronic disease,” Witchey said. “If we don’t take bold action to combat this rise in chronic illness, we’re going to have a population that is unhealthy and unproductive, and we’re going to have a health care system that is unsustainable.

“We created the Wellness Frontiers Award several years ago to recognize those that are doing exciting, innovative things to encourage good health. We want to shine a spotlight on examples like MUSC’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness so they can be replicated elsewhere across the country.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that chronic illness numbers will spiral upward in the years ahead,” she continued. “But, if we have healthier children, we can prove those projections wrong and shape a different future for our nation. We believe you’re starting that revolution right here in the state of South Carolina with this program.”

March 4, 2016



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