The Boeing Center for Children's Wellness
- The Lean Team -
The DOCS-ADOPT School Wellness Initiative
As physicians, we offer our expertise in health and wellness to the schools in our community as part of the Docs-Adopt Initiative. We will serve as a resource to the School Wellness Committees as they conduct needs assessments and implement changes that will enhance the wellness of everyone within our schools. We believe that by working together to improve health we will benefit our entire community because healthy teachers are better teachers and healthy kids are better learners. - Docs-Adopt Mission Statement
Decreasing childhood obesity will require public health interventions that intersect with traditional health care, including policies and environments that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity. Although the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), Institute of Medicine (IOM), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend physicians be involved with these public health efforts, few have become so. Schools provide an ideal setting for these efforts since: > 95% young people are in school, a large portion of daily food consumption and exercise occurs at school, and proper nutrition along with physical activity can enhance academic performance (Source: CDC).
In November 2010, the Charleston County Medical Society and the Charleston County School District launched a unique partnership known as “Docs-Adopt”, in which 55 physicians were paired with schools to support their individual wellness efforts. Physicians were recruited as resources to help shape a school’s health and wellness efforts by serving as a member on the school’s wellness committee. No clinical services were involved; physicians simply served as a health resource to their school. Physicians received training that included information on school policies, the latest research in childhood obesity, local and national obesity statistics, as well as nutrition and physical activity standards/programs. Evaluation of the program found that physician adoption was the sole variable that had a significant effect on school policy and environmental change.
Update: 2013-2014 School Year
The Docs‐Adopt program is in the process of statewide expansion through the leadership of Dr. Janice Key, Director of School and Community‐Based Programs for the Boeing Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, along with the support of the Charleston County Medical Society, the Dorchester County Medical Society and the South Carolina Medical Association’s (SCMA) Childhood Obesity Task Force. Physicians have already begun adopting schools in Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. Furthermore, the SCMA Childhood Obesity Task Force has pledged to have a doctor adopt each county in South Carolina to bring this model to other school districts across our state.
In Charleston County, we now have 84 physician participants adopting 75 schools, and we are in the process of recruiting and pairing physicians for Berkeley and Dorchester 2 School Districts. Our largest Docs-Adopt training session to date was held in November 2012, and brought together physicians and their school wellness counterparts. Our next trainings will be held in August 2013 (training co-sponsored by the Dorchester County Medical Society, for Dorchester 2 School District schools) and September 2013 (Charleston County). While not mandatory, attendance at one of these annual trainings is highly-recommended, as it is an opportunity for doctors and school wellness committee leads to make a personal contact. Information in each annual training is current for that school year and includes: feedback and data from the prior year’s program, updates on wellness efforts from individual schools and individual physicians, a training session on a popular wellness checklist contest that physicians can help their schools to win, and new data and information on school nutrition, physical activity and obesity statistics.
For our program to continue to build on last year’s successes, we need your support and participation. Enrollment is on an open basis, but we like to match physicians and schools as early in the school year as possible. Please contact the Lean Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for a school and to RSVP for a Docs-Adopt training session. Join us in making a difference in the lives of more than 100,000 children and staff in the tri-county area through improving their chances at living longer, healthier lives!