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Docs-Adopt in Clarendon County

Team Members: Row 1 (l-r) Jonathan Holston, Gwen Baker, Katy Richardson,
Cameron Blazer, Lisa Jones-Turansky
Row 2: (l-r) Greg Clark, John Dozier, Cal Land, David Ginn

The goal of the capstone project is to help to expand the Docs-Adopt Wellness Initiative to the I-95 Corridor. Docs Adopt is an initiative of MUSC’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness, and its mission is to form an academic and community partnership that will help the Center to understand how to best change the climate of participating schools to promote student and staff wellness and make the overall school and community environment healthier.

This initiative employs a double-pronged approach to accomplish this mission. It uses an evidence-based school wellness checklist, and it matches physicians with schools. The checklist provides a simple way to promote and monitor school health action in such areas as school meals, snack policies, education, physical activity, and wellness culture, and schools can earn $1000 annually towards a wellness project of their choosing by earning points from the checklist. To help schools improve the health of their community, physicians are paired with schools to serve as a member of the wellness committee and as a resource.  

Docs Adopt now works within the Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester school districts, and they have shown progress in helping to make these schools healthier environments for both students and staff. Our project is to help them to expand their reach to include one or more school districts along the I-95 corridor beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Through current contacts with school districts along the I-95 corridor and through reaching out to DLI alumni working in schools along the corridor, the group’s hope is to raise awareness of the Docs-Adopt School Wellness Initiative and to encourage school districts to adopt this initiative as an avenue for promoting health and wellness in their school environments. Specifically, the team has already met with the superintendent and other senior administrators of Clarendon District 2, and they plan to apply to MUSC’s Boeing Center in the spring of 2014 for a grant to cover the costs of implementing the Docs-Adopt School Wellness Initiative in Manning. In preparation for this grant application, the group will help the school district to establish an effective wellness structure so that they are ready to take full advantage of the program when it begins in the fall. The capstone group is also in earlier stages of discussions with another rural school district to do the same, and lastly, the plan is to pen a letter to former DLI participants who now work in school districts along the I-95 corridor explaining our capstone project and offering to assist any interested school district with making the contacts necessary to further pursue bringing this initiative to their respective districts. Ultimately, the hope is that this project, along with others across the community, begins to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic currently ravaging our state through effective policy and environmental changes in schools.