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Mount St. Mary's Hospital expands school health literacy program to parents

by Olivia
Wed, Oct 5th 2011 07:00 am

By drawing on health care expertise from throughout Niagara County, Mount St. Mary's Hospital established a collaborative of agencies to form a program titled, "Health Education Raises Opportunities" in 2009. Structured around the concept of building health literacy skills for students in eight local schools, HERO is expanding this year to include a community perspective.

"Partnering with Parents," a new program designed by HERO school administrators, will offer parents an opportunity to better understand the issues their children may be facing, as well as afford them a glimpse into the HERO educational modules offered to their children through the program.

"We've had great success in helping students to become better consumers of health care since we launched HERO. They are taking concepts they have learned to make better decisions to lead healthier lives," said Honor Martin, RN, MS, director of education and organizational development at Mount St. Mary's. "Now the program is shifting towards educating parents on major health issues affecting children today to create a well-rounded program that entire families can embrace and share at home."

This year, the "Partnering with Parents" program will focus on three current health topics identified by school principals as most urgent from an education perspective. The programs, which all take place at Niagara Catholic High School (520 66th St., Niagara Falls) include:

•Bullying and cyberbullying, on Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. This course will offer parents the opportunity to learn and understand the cycle of bullying and cyberbullying, and how to identify escalating behaviors, which may lead to serious consequences.

•Nutrition and healthy meals for busy families, on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. This course will provide parents with an accelerated course in healthy nutrition, as well as how to make quick, easy and healthy meals.

•Grief, loss and children, on March 14, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. This course will provide parents with a primer on how children perceive death and loss of a loved one, as well as identify healthy coping skills.

HERO's collaborative partners, who have assisted with the design and implementation of the program, include: The Mental Health Association in Niagara County; the Niagara University Department of Nursing; the NU Department of Hospitality and Tourism; the NU Department of Biology; Niagara Catholic High School; Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls; St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran School; St. Dominic Savio Middle School; St. Peter Roman Catholic School; Niagara Charter School; DeSales Catholic School; St. Matthew Lutheran School; Catholic Charities of Western New York; Fidelis Care New York; the Diocesan Catholic Schools; the Niagara County Health Department; and various departments within Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.

For more information, call 298-2299.

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