LiveHealthyPA is a diverse resource website supporting the collaboration of schools, communities and health teams while offering a platform for idea generation and information exchange to address statewide wellness. LiveHealthyPA’s mission is to improve health outcomes for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The website includes resources for a wide variety of topics such as smoking, cancer and parks and recreation.
PRO Wellness works with the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an external review facilitator for all Healthy Living Practices submitted through the web application process on the LiveHealthyPA website. These practices are submitted by
the community and published for sharing. Incoming practices are reviewed by PRO Wellness staff for validity and then forwarded on to external volunteer reviewers if further guidance is required.
The PRO Wellness team is uniquely positioned for this role due to the team’s wide range of expertise and commitment to sharing practices that are safe, healthful and beneficial to the community. At this time, accepted submissions include best practices (promising through evidence-based), sustainable programs, community outreach, health promotion and events applicable to public health workers and the general population.
For more information or to submit your practice for inclusion on the Pennsylvania Department of Health site, visit www.LiveHealthyPA.com.
Click here for more information or to submit your practice for inclusion.
Building Healthy Schools Grant Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Health granted funding to PRO Wellness via two federal funding sources to facilitate programming focused on healthy eating and physical activity. Eighty-one schools across 15 districts in Pennsylvania were impacted by this grant program. The initiative helped build the capacity of these school districts to:
- implement policies and practices that create a supportive nutrition environment
- develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive school physical activity programs
- identify opportunities to create or enhance community access to places for physical activity
In addition to developing the grant program, PRO Wellness provided hands-on technical assistance that supported each awarded district in establishing a framework for continued wellness success. Technical assistance included:
- site visits
- serving as an extended member of district wellness councils
- training on policy and assessment tools
- hosting educational webinars to enhance the funded programs
- sharing information for resources, trainings and additional funding opportunities
This grant program occurred over a five-year period. Twelve counties were represented and all six Pennsylvania health districts.
All participating districts:
- identified a wellness champion to lead the grant initiatives for the district
- established or enhanced a district wellness council
- completed assessments of wellness policies and practices to guide action plan development
Click here to learn more about the Building Healthy Schools Grant Program.
The learnings from this program were published within:
- the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance article, When a “One Size” Model Doesn’t Fit All: The Building Healthy Schools Program.
- the Health Education Journal: Investigating the effectiveness of webinars in the adoption of proven school wellness strategies.
- the Journal of Public Health: Quality of local school wellness policies for physical activity and resultant implementation in Pennsylvania schools.
Public Health 3.0: Dauphin County
Public Health 3.0: Dauphin County is part of a state-wide initiative led by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is designed to bring together different sectors of communities (businesses, housing, education, transportation, etc.) to create conditions that support healthy living. Using a hub-and-spoke model, counties across the commonwealth are building partnerships and creating synergy to address priority health topics. Penn State PRO Wellness serves as the hub for Dauphin County, Pa. Goals of this initiative are to:
- network, partner, and align efforts strategically
- establish an organized voluntary approach for moving toward a healthier
- create economies of scale and avoid investing in duplicative initiatives
- create a regional partnership that aids in the utilization of resources. This will be accomplished through supporting/aligning existing interest groups or creating new, when needed
Representatives of health-focused Dauphin County organizations have identified three priority topics and PRO Wellness is working with spoke organizations to facilitate action teams to address these topics in the areas of obesity/physical inactivity, substance use and oral health.
Giving Level: over $126,000
Penn State PRO Wellness partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to award mini-grants to 30 schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) across the commonwealth. The grants were broken into two types; Safe Routes to School and Capacity Building for Increasing Physical Activity.
Safe Routes to School Mini-Grant
Schools and CBOs used grant funds to make walking and biking to school a safer and healthier option. PRO Wellness awarded $26,000 to 11 schools and CBOs. The focus was on four major elements:
Over 7,000 students were impacted by this program with an aim to increase walking and biking to and from school by at least 5% and 2% respectively. Multiple schools went above and beyond those aims, with a standout from Lincoln Charter School in York County, Pa. Lincoln Charter School increased walking to school by 19% and increased walking home from school by 8%.
Capacity Building for Increasing Physical Activity
The grant funds were used by schools and CBOs to increase youth physical activity opportunities. PRO Wellness awarded over $100,000 to 19 schools and CBOs in 12 different counties.
This program opened up a place where students and staff could go to participate in after school fitness programs. We had another student lead a pilates and yoga program as well as the cardio kickboxing. Students used the equipment during study halls to release built up energy and aggression. – Michael Witman, Physical Education Teacher, Millersburg Area School District.
Funds impacted almost 8,500 students, 500 staff and 3,000 community members through events and programming. Some of these fun activities included:
- After-school intramural and fitness
- Community gardens
- Structured recess
- Community-wide bike-share
- Family fitness fun (physical activity and nutrition)
Click here to learn more about the Mini-Grant Programs.