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Delta Rural Network Center

Delta Rural Network Center: A wellness promotion hub centering around wellness leadership infrastructure installation and retention. The Center offers the Baptist Health Deaconess School Wellness Initiative, an HRSA-funded anti-obesity wellness promotion program, serving far Western Kentucky’s twenty rural Mississippi Delta Region counties. Through the Initiative, the Delta Rural Network Center assists public service area school districts, elementary, middle, and high schools with:

  • establishing sustainable school wellness leadership groups to assess and address health and wellness activity and issues;
  • retention of academic classroom-based physical activity beyond required health and physical education;
  • providing professional development training for school staff;
  • healthy lifestyle activities and presentations for students and residents; and
  • wellness policy development and review

The goal of the initiative is to enhance the culture of wellness in service area schools by involving school staff, students, parents, and community organizations. The initiative promotes wellness activity in 74 elementary, 26 middle, and 26 high schools.

The Delta Rural Network Center is located in the Dr. Loman C. Trover Medical Education and Research Center, at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville located in Madisonville, KY (Hopkins County). It is funded by the Delta States Rural Development Network grant program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Initiated in 2001 as the Delta Rural Network Project, efforts centered on addressing health issues using a community-initiated decision making process. Local community health councils were established in Western Kentucky’s far western Delta region counties. In 2004, the program graduated to a regional approach and focused on addressing top community driven issues includes obesity and wellness, health literacy, oral health, and prescription assistance. Activities supported elementary schools throughout the 20-county service area. For the 2014 – 2015 school year, middle and high schools were included.

From 2003 to 2004, through its Delta Medication Assist Program, the Project supported prescription assistance efforts throughout the service area at sites including the Hopkins County Community Clinic in Madisonville, KY, the Helping Hands Health Clinic in Elkton, KY (Todd County), and Helping hands of Trigg County in Cadiz, KY. The program served more than 3,400 clients with medications distributed with an estimated value of more than $8 million. Support for the program was concluded in early 2014 due to a shift in grant funding key focus areas.

School wellness group implementation; wellness assessment, action planning, and implementation; retention of classroom physical activity beyond required health and physical education; professional development training for school staff; healthy lifestyle activities and presentations; and wellness policy review assistance are still received by over 125 schools.

Remember… “Healthcare is Self Care!”

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