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Past Featured Member

Healthy Futures Through Intervention and Innovation is a collaborative partnership between the Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, the Georgia State University School of Nursing and College of Health and Human Sciences, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Area Health Education Center, Southeastern Primary Care Consortium. The purpose of the partnership is to create a healthy school environment that will support and nurture a dynamic learning environment for students, children, their families, and the greater community. The middle school is located in The Empowerment Zone of downtown Atlanta with the collaborative partners surrounding the school in close proximity to this urban setting.

The partners are committed to these goals:

  • Preparing professional health sciences students with advanced knowledge and clinical expertise in their developing and changing roles as leaders in health care.
  • Exposing middle school students to health professional roles for their future consideration.
  • Providing quality health care consultation with a special emphasis on those children and families who are considered to be in transition either in development, behavioral changes, or health status.
  • Initiating and sustaining new and current community partnerships that provide avenues for health-enhancing lifestyles for children and their families.
  • Designing, implementing, evaluating, and monitoring innovative strategies that are uniquely tailored to meet the special developmental, behavioral, and health needs of children and their families.
  • Providing interdisciplinary community-based services that are distinguished by accessibility, affordability, and continuity and are notably satisfying to the client and the provider.
  • Designing and implementing a research database that serves as an evaluative longitudinal framework for revising educational approaches and health care models for families within communities.
  • Facilitating evidence-based outcome-focused research that will positively impact the health and learning interventions of the school community.

The partnership emerged in 1997 following initial collaboration by the Georgia State University Nursing Student Association and the NFL Youth Education Town Director around support for the health and learning needs of the middle school-age students at King. Annual community-supported health fairs were initiated. Funds from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration were then awarded through the partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine to establish a Math & Science Academy held each summer. With the School of Nursing placement of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner faculty on site three days/week, the partnership continued to strengthen. This faculty member orients, supervises, and facilitates the clinical experiences of students rotating through the school health experience. With a mission, intended outcomes, and interdisciplinary strategies, the partnership was now formalized with a plan for the middle school as an integrated learning, practice, service, and research entity. The Chamber of Commerce now recognizes this as a formal partnership and new partners continue to join in serving the teachers, staff, students, and families of the King Middle School Community. King Middle School has been nominated three times for an A+ award for partnership activities with specific recognition and selection as an Innovative Partnership in 1999. As the partnership continued to strengthen, King Middle School soon received recognition as an Urban Learning Center and a 21st Century Community Center. With these new designations the activities of the partnership expanded to include special projects, innovative health education session, technology support, and program evaluation efforts. Currently, a special focus of the partnership is that of Healthy Futures Through Innovation and Intervention; a thoughtfully planned demonstration project guided by the Comprehensive School Health Model of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Benefits & Challenges

There are many benefits for all partners and stakeholders of this community-focused, school-based partnership.

  • A creative learning environment
  • Opportunities to integrate teaching, service/practice, and research/scholarship.
  • Exposure to alternative health care settings for health professional students (for example, nursing student interest in school health as a career option is heightened)
  • Exposure to health professional careers for middle school students
  • Access to reputable health education resources for students, parents, teachers, and staff
  • Opportunities to engage the community into the life of the school.

Challenges include continuing cooperation from the school system in light of the new Education Reform Mandates and school system accountability for student achievement. Another challenge has been gaining and sustaining continued parental involvement

Tips & Lessons Learned

The partners have learned many important lessons throughout the process of building this partnership. These include:

  • Start with building trust in the school community. Trustworthiness of the partners is essential to the future success of the partnership.
  • It is ritical to work WITH the community and partners and not impose ideas. Engage input from the grassroots level and community opinion leaders on an ongoing basis.
  • Bi-directional communication and relationship building is vital to sustaining the work of the partnership.
  • Documenting the evidence related to all outcomes of the partnership will only strengthen future opportunities for support (both fiscal and other resources).

For More Information

This published paper further elaborates the partnership history and mutual Benefits: Pittman, K.P., Wold, J.L., Wilson, A.H., Huff, C., and Williams, S. (2000). Community connections: Promoting Family Health. Family & Community Health: The Journal of Health Promotion & Maintenance, 23 (2), 72-78.

Or, contact:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School

Georgia State University School of Nursing

Morehouse School of Medicine

To read about other previous featured members click here.



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