Monday, December 14, 2015

Student Health

Dec. 14, 2015 - NORMAN - The Norman Regional Health Foundation for the first time has partnered with the Norman Regional Health System to provide health services to students throughout Norman Public Schools.

Norman Regional began supporting health services in Norman schools in 2007. Beginning next school year, the Foundation also will contribute toward the cost, which totals more than $690,000 per year. Together, the organizations will contribute half of the annual cost to provide health services, which is a combined contribution of more than $345,000. The school district covers the remaining expenses.

"We appreciate our established partnership with Norman Regional and look forward also to working with the Foundation," said NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano. "Their support makes it possible for our school nurses to facilitate more than 80,000 student visits each year. This is an excellent example of how our community steps up to invest in our students."

Financial support from the partnership helps fund salaries and benefits for healthcare providers in schools. Additionally, Norman Regional offers clinical instruction, CPR training and professional development for the nursing staff. The health system is also a resource when questions arise regarding chronic diseases.

"Today's students have more complex healthcare needs than ever before," said Erin Barnhart, executive director of Norman Regional Health Foundation. "We look forward to partnering with Norman Public Schools and Norman Regional Health System to provide financial support for healthcare professionals at every Norman public school. The Foundation's investment will impact the health and wellness of our community's most vulnerable population."

Norman Regional Health System President and CEO, David Whitaker, agreed.

"We are proud to be renewing our shared commitment to the health of Norman students," he said. "Our vision is to improve the quality of life in our community and supporting school nurses is one way of turning that vision into reality. We are grateful to the Foundation, their board members and their donors for their commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community and its future generations."

The partnership has been recognized as a model for school districts across the state because it provides a healthcare provider at every school, which is not a common practice.

"Nurses from other districts call us all the time to inquire about our program," said Beth Roberson, NPS Health Services coordinator. "Partnering with Norman Regional, and now with the Foundation, results in measurable outcomes for our students. Our healthcare providers are able to provide thorough health screenings for all of our Pre-K, elementary and middle school students."

Those screenings make a difference. In fact, a recent screening may have saved a student's life as a screening revealed unusually high blood pressure in an elementary student. Roberson notified the student's parents and recommended they follow up with the child’s pediatrician. After further examinations, doctors determined the child had a heart defect that had gone unnoticed.

"The doctor indicated the child's condition likely wouldn't have been discovered until a serious cardiac event happened," Roberson said. "Now, the child is receiving preventative treatment and is expected to be fine. This is one example of Norman Regional's support at work in our schools."

For more information about the Foundation and how to contribute, visit www.nrhfoundation.org.