Heroes for Healthy Schools Week: Citywide Forum, Playground Painting, School Nurse Leadership and Mo

April 07, 2011 | Written By:


Today was day four of Heroes for Healthy Schools week, a series that HSC is presenting with Chicago Public Schools and the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to highlight  the role everyone can play in ensuring that all children are able to succeed in school and live healthy lives. After getting the week of to an active start Monday and hosting Chef in the Classroom on Tuesday, we continued the energy with events across the city!

Whew! It’s been a busy Wednesday and Thursday of Heroes for Healthy Schools week!

Yesterday, we started the day with a Citywide Forum on Health Disparities and Education, where we heard from local and national leaders on these issues: Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice President of Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Dr. Charles Basch, Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education at Columbia University Teachers College; Terry Mazany, Interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools; Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health; and Mirtha Beadle, Deputy Director at the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. HSC’s Rochelle Davis moderated the forum and a lively discussion of the issues facing local and national education leaders.

L-R: Charles Basch, Terry Mazany, Bechara Choucair

The afternoon saw parents and children at Inter-American School gather to plant flowers and re-paint the school’s playground with active games and designs.



Across town at KIPP Ascend Primary School,  Tonya Lewis Lee, spokesperson for the Office of Minority Health, read her new book, “Giant Steps to Change the World,” to kindergarten students.


School nurse leaders from across Chicago gathered at a special summit to learn about strategies for making healthy eating and physical activity a priority at school. The nurses, who all participated in HSC's School Nurse Leadership Training, focused in particular on helping their schools meet the high standards for food, fitness and nutrition education set by the HealthierUS School Challenge, as part of Chicago's Go for the Gold campaign.

Meanwhile, the Office of Minority health hosted the inaugural meeting of the advisory committee for its new Action Learning Collaborative, with the long term goal of improving schools’ food offerings and school environments for all children, and in particular for minority and underserved populations.

Wednesday evening, Tonya Lewis Lee and peer health educators who had traveled to Chicago from across the country gathered at the University of Chicago for a special screening of Lewis’ film, Crisis in the Crib.

Today, we got an early start with Fit to Learn events! Teachers who took part in HSC’s Fit to Learn professional development training took the messags and tips for teaching familiar lessons in healthy new ways to their peers, with the help of health educators who led the groups in physical activities and brought a healthy breakfast for teachers and staff.

Members of the Action Learning Collaborative toured the Academy for Global Citizenship and Namaste School to see their health-promoting initiatives first-hand. This afternoon, our friends at Chicago Run are hosting after-school running activities at several schools across the city.

Individuals across the country are taking part in Heroes for Healthy Schools by sharing the stories of their own health heroes. Learn more and nominate your hero online here!

Photos by John McMullen.

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