Congratulations to School Nurse Luminary Phyllis Pelt, HSC Board Member

May 13, 2009

Phyllis Many congratulations to Phyllis Pelt, a dedicated HSC board member and founding member of HSC's school nurse advisory committee. Phyllis was recognized as a Nurse Luminary by the Luminary Project (which highlights nurses doing exceptional work across the nation and around the world) for her work, on the faculty at University of Illinois College of Nursing, to improve the indoor air quality of a deteriorating urban school building.

On the Luminary Project web site, Phyllis describes her inspiration and challenges:

The energy and eagerness of the nursing students was my major inspiration. … Unfortunately the catalyst power and pivotal role of the school nurse is poorly understood. …Years ago these same schools were in excellent shape and even the teachers who had been in the school for many years were not aware of the extent of the mold and mildew problem. Parents had never looked on the second floor and only visited teachers in the hall. They did not realize that buckets were catching water in the classrooms next to student desks.

She also talks about the ways she is continuing her remarkable work, now with HSC:

I have retired from the university and now have more time to devote to work with School Nurse Leadership Training programs with the Healthy Schools Campaign. In that role, I have been able to interact with policy makers including school board members and administrators. Again, my focus is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, taking advantage of the nurse as the logical coordinator of school health services and primary prevention activities and initiatives. I believe that all children, regardless of race or the socio- economic background of their family, deserve to learn in a health-promoting and safe school environment and that school nurses play a big part in making this happen.

From all of us at HSC, congratulations to Phyllis for this well-deserved recognition, and thanks for her tireless dedication to improving the learning environment for our students.