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Nearly $150,000 partnership-building grant to create collaborative research activities that advance health equity in Virginia schools
School health has been described as a “hidden health care system.” Policies and funding siloes in health and education often exclude school health, causing a gap in meeting the needs of the whole child and perpetuating health inequities. The Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust, Bank of America, Private Bank, Trustee awarded Associate Professor of Nursing Erin D. Maughan the Research Advancing Health Equity Grant, a two-year $149,868.57 partnership-building grant to address health inequities in Virginia schools.
To do this, Maughan will create the Virginia School Health & Equity Research Consortium (VSHERC), whose goal is to build a strong partnership, provide training for school nurses on health equity, and collect data needed to study root causes of health inequities in schools.
“The ultimate goal of this unique Consortium is to increase the percentage of Virginia K-12 students covered by a school health program that facilitates child health and does not contribute to child health inequities. This will ultimately lead to a healthier, more equitable Virginia,” says Maughan.
The Consortium will be co-led by Maughan and the Virginia Association of School Nurses (VASN), and is also supported by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). They hope to include non-governmental organizations that address children’s health and inequities in the future.
VSHERC will create a network across the commonwealth to examine state and district policies and infrastructures through the lens of health inequities. It will train school nurses and school health personnel and collect baseline information to determine how school health policies perpetuate health inequities, especially among students of color. The baseline data will be used to develop a future action-oriented research proposal.
The Jeffress Trust’s mission is to benefit the people of Virginia by investing in research geared towards improving the health of residents of Virginia while explicitly focusing on addressing health inequities.