Why We’re Thankful for Jamie Chriqui at UIC

November 25, 2015

It’s the time of year to give thanks, and here at Healthy Schools Campaign, we’re thankful for our partners that help us move our work forward both in Chicago and nationally. See more posts in this series.

Jamie Chriqui, a professor of health policy and administration at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the leading wellness policy expert in the United States. Her portfolio of work includes analyzing the language of wellness policies across the country. She’s also done research on how the language of wellness policies ultimately affects students—the most important stakeholders.

That’s why we’re so excited that Jamie is partnering with us on assessing the effectiveness of the implementation of the district’s wellness policy that passed three years ago. We’re in the midst of working with Chicago Public Schools to review the wellness policy the district passed three years ago,

That policy codifies many victories; increases access to healthy food, recess and physical activity; and requires schools to assess and report their progress in implementation. In three years, much success has been realized: More children are eating healthy meals and getting the exercise and play they need to focus on their schoolwork. But there have also been challenges. The policy called for a review process after three years to check in and see what successes and challenges schools are having.

That’s where Jamie comes in. As part of an advisory group at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, Jamie helped develop a tool to determine the comprehensiveness of wellness policies. This tool, WellStat, is one of the ways we’re analyzing CPS’ wellness policy.

Jamie is lending her expertise to review CPS’ wellness policy and provide recommendations on how the policy can be strengthened and better implemented. This is not Jamie’s introduction to the wellness policy at CPS. Before the current wellness policy was passed in 2012, Jamie provided guidance in the writing of the policy.

Our goal with the review process is to make recommendations and to share findings with the Chicago Board of Education, schools, community members and other key stakeholders. Jamie has been a great partner both to CPS and to us, and we excited to have her involved in the review of the wellness policy.