ST. LOUIS, MO, February 3, 2014—The Little Bit Foundation and Institute for Family Medicine (IFM) announced today that they have teamed up to launch Healthy Kids, Better Learners, a program offering general health screenings and education on proper hygiene for students in Little Bit sponsored schools. By providing early detection and prevention services, the Healthy Kids, Better Learners program will seek to remove barriers to education and create positive, healthy learning environments. The first program clinics will be held on February 5, 2014 at Confluence Academy-Old North and Bryan Hill Elementary School in the College Hill neighborhood.
“There is a direct correlation between health and wellness and a child’s academic development or readiness to learn,” says David Campbell, M.D., Founder and President of the Institute for Family Medicine. “Unfortunately, for the over 40% of children living in poverty in the city of St. Louis, inadequate diet, lack of prevention activities and limited access to medical services often result in poor overall health and disproportionately higher rates of chronic conditions.”
Dr. Campbell says the goals of the Healthy Kids, Better Learners program are to identify conditions that require further medical attention and provide students with instruction on health and hygiene that may lead to lasting changes. For each school clinic, expected to take place once a year at the start, volunteer nursing students will begin the day with brief lessons for classrooms on basic hygiene practices, such as regular hand washing. They then will record students’ height, weight, blood pressure and temperature before they are seen by IFM medical professionals, who will examine their skin, eyes, ears and teeth. Meanwhile, Little Bit staff and volunteers will hand out socks, underwear, dental and hygiene kits and check for other needs.
“Our mission is to provide for the most fundamental needs of children, knowing that healthy, well prepared student populations achieve increased test scores, higher rates of engagement and better attendance. It’s a philosophy we share with IFM,” says Rosemary Hanley, Executive Director of The Little Bit Foundation. “We are so excited to bring the expertise of IFM, a dedicated community servant, to our school communities and to expand our focus on serving the whole child.”
Findings at a recent pilot clinic included several cases of asthma, skin conditions and priority dental needs. The medical team also discovered an untreated injury and burn and three students with undiagnosed heart murmurs.
About The Little Bit Foundation
Founded in 2001, The Little Bit Foundation (www.thelittlebitfoundation.org) works to provide for the basic needs of disadvantaged children in the St. Louis area by partnering with local schools. The organization serves 4,300 students in 16 St. Louis area schools and annually distributes more than 100,000 essential items. Its presence in the schools, working one-on-one with each child, combined with providing necessities, such as clothing, undergarments, shoes, coats, hygiene kits, health services and emergency food items, creates a positive impact for personal growth, increases self-esteem and encourages a more focused, active learning environment.
About Institute for Family Medicine
Since 2000, the Institute for Family Medicine (www.ifm-stl.org) has been delivering healthcare services to the uninsured, underinsured and underserved throughout St. Louis. The organization also maintains a traditional family practice located in South County, Missouri. Its mission is to improve health and quality of life for disadvantaged children and families by reducing access barriers and delivering quality healthcare services.