News and Events

 
October 2018
 
CHHS receives funding to implement Mental Health First Aid on campus with funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMSHA)
 
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August 2018
 

SPARK 2 Read - Physical Activity, Health Education and Literacy in 16 Rural Tennessee Schools

Underserved children in sixteen rural schools in an eight-county area will get the “spark” they need to ignite healthier lifestyles thanks to MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services.

oung students in the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center’s “Yellow Room” for 4-year-olds take a water break after careening around their playground outside MTSU’s Fairview Building in this 2016 file photo. MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services, which advocates a healthy balance of active play, good food, reading and rest for every child, has expanded its “SPARK” activity program for children in five Tennessee counties into “SPARK 2 Read,” an after-school literacy program for minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged youngsters, to help show that physical activity can strengthen learning and brain-body connections. (MTSU file photo by Ann Campbell Early Learning Center)

Young students in the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center’s “Yellow Room” for 4-year-olds take a water break after careening around their playground outside MTSU’s Fairview Building in this 2016 file photo. MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services, which advocates a healthy balance of active play, good food, reading and rest for every child, has expanded its “SPARK” activity program for children in five Tennessee counties into “SPARK 2 Read,” an after-school literacy program for minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged youngsters, to help show that physical activity can strengthen learning and brain-body connections. (MTSU file photo by Ann Campbell Early Learning Center)

With $100,000 in funding from the Tennessee Department of Health, the MTSU center will develop, oversee and provide technical assistance for an initiative to integrate healthy eating, active living and a tobacco-free lifestyle into “SPARK 2 Read,” an after-school literacy program for minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged youngsters.

Dr. Don Morgan, a professor in MTSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance, said the program “builds on previous research showing that physical activity can strengthen learning and brain-body connections.”The MTSU Center for Physical Activity and Health in Youth, which Morgan directs, has been working with the Center for Health and Human Services on a 2017 grant to implement the overall SPARK program at nine rural elementary schools in Meigs, Hickman, Benton, and Sullivan and counties. Project outcomes are expected in August.

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Education has recognized SPARK as an exemplary program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified it as a national model for combatting childhood obesity. Now MTSU will help combine it in into a literacy initiative for children aged 5 to 14 in up to 12 schools in the same counties as the 2017 grant and with the addition of Rutherford County.Those schools are East Hickman Elementary and Centerville Elementary in Hickman County; North Meigs Elementary and South Meigs Elementary in Meigs County; Briarwood Elementary, Holladay Elementary and Big Sandy Elementary in Benton County; Lincoln Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary in Sullivan County; and three to-be-identified Murfreesboro city schools in Rutherford County.

Murfreesboro’s “Read to Succeed” program is another partner in SPARK 2 Read. Executive Director Jolene Radnoti said her staffers can’t wait to be a part of it.“When physical activity and learning are paired, new brain cells develop and cognitive functions are enhanced,” Radnoti said. “SPARK 2 Read will help children soar to new heights.”

 

The Center for Health and Human Services works to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans. In partnership with the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services at MTSU, CHHS initiates and strengthens academic programs in health and human services to support workforce development and promote healthy communities.

For more information, contact CHHS Assistant Director Cynthia Chafin at 615-898-5493 or cynthia.chafin@mtsu.edu or visit the center’s website at www.mtsu.edu/chhs.

To learn more about SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org.


 

 May 2018

MTSU’s Center for Health & Human Services Receives Funding to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – “All Children Excelling through A Comprehensive Network of Trained Providers”

ACES logo

 The Center for Health & Human Services (CHHS) at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has received funding from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, as part of the Building Stronger Brains initiative. The CHHS will be working in partnership with The College of Behavioral and Health Sciences’ Health and Human Performance and Social Work departments, and the College of Education to develop and integrate a cross-disciplinary curriculum on Adverse Childhood Experiences as part of the grant proposal titled “All Children Excelling through a Comprehensive Network of Trained Providers.”  

All Children Excelling through a Comprehensive Network of Trained Providers is an evidence-based project that impacts the way professionals in the workplace identify and interact with children and families who present with evidence of suffering from Adverse Childhood Experiences.  MTSU CHHS Associate Director for Community Programs Cynthia Chafin says, “Future MTSU graduates will be given the tools needed to help address the number of children presenting with ACEs in the communities which they serve. By introducing information on how ACEs impact childhood development (brain architecture, behavioral issues, community impact, and the long-term health effects) before MTSU students graduate and enter the workforce, we are able to influence how these professions address ACEs and promote a practice of trauma informed care and resiliency for years to come.  We welcome other campus departments who may be interested in participating in our project to contact us.”

The Center for Health and Human Services seeks to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans. The Center, in partnership with the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services, initiates and strengthens academic programs in health and human services to support workforce development and promote healthy communities. Through collaborative affiliations and partnerships, the Center facilitates research, communications, education, and training in public health issues of importance to Tennessee consistent with the mission and purpose of MTSU.

For more information on MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services and the ACES grant activities, or to learn how the Center can help meet your organization’s research, training, or education needs, contact Cynthia Chafin at 615-898-5493 or Cynthia.chafin@mtsu.edu or visit the Center’s website at http://www.mtsu.edu/chhs/.   To learn more about ACES or the Building Strong Brains Tennessee initiative, visit https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about_ace.html or https://www.tn.gov/tccy/ace/tccy-ace-building-strong-brains.html

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 MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/trueblue. For MTSU news anytime, visit www.MTSUnews.com.


 

Spring 2018

MTSU Center for Human Services Featured in Inaugural MTSU Research Magazine

MTSU Center for Human Services is featured in the Inaugural MTSU Research Magazine where several of the CHHS projects, programs,and research initiatives are highlighted.

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December 2017

MTSU Researchers Help Tennessee Children Get Moving through Pilot Program

MURFREESBORO — MTSU is launching a project that will enhance children’s activities beyond that offered in traditional physical education courses.

SPARK in action  SPARK Program Logo

With funding from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Division of Family Health and Wellness, MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services will oversee and furnish technical assistance for a pilot program of after-school physical activity for nine elementary schools in Sullivan, Meigs, Benton and Hickman counties.

 Students ages 5 through 12 will participate in the SPARK program, which is identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a national model. The U.S. Department of Education deems the program “exemplary.”

SPARK, which was created in 1989, provides schools with a curriculum, on-site teacher training, follow-up support and content-matched equipment. Fourth-graders may also participate in a collaborative research study to assess its effectiveness for them.

 In addition to the state health department, the Tennessee Department of Education Coordinated School Health Program and MTSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance are partners in the project.

 “The CHHS is pleased to partner with our campus colleagues in Health and Human Performance as part of this research and service project, which will benefit schools and children in several rural Tennessee counties,” said Cindy Chafin, interim center director. “We hope that results from this project will help us learn more about the role that school-based activity programs conducted outside of the school day can have on classroom performance and the overall health and well-being of children,” said Don Morgan, director of MTSU’s Center for Physical Activity and Health in Youth and the study’s research coordinator. Chafin said that researchers will want to know the program’s impact on academic performance, children’s ability to focus in the classroom, absenteeism, body mass index, student attitudes toward physical activity by children and parents and family engagement around physical activity. Morgan added that, while school physical education programs promote skills for active living, the time allotted for physical education falls below the recommended 60 minutes of moderately intense daily physical activity for children.

The Center for Health and Human Services seeks to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans. The center, in partnership with the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services, initiates and strengthens academic programs in health and human services to support workforce development and promote healthy communities. Through collaborative affiliations and partnerships, the Center facilitates research, communications, education, and training in public health issues of importance to Tennessee consistent with the mission and purpose of MTSU.

 For more information on MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services and the SPARK grant activities, contact Chafin at 615-898-5493 or cynthia.chafin@mtsu.edu, or visit the center’s website at http://www.mtsu.edu/chhs/. To learn more about SPARK, go to www.sparkpe.org.

 


May 2017


MTSU Center Lands $30K March of Dimes Grant for Dental Training Program

Smile SMART effort seeks to encourage patients to stop smoking, tobacco use

Smile SMART Logo

 MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services has received $30,000 from the March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter Community Grants Program to provide training to area dental providers on best practices for smoking cessation.

 Smile SMART is a patient-centered smoking-cessation training program for dentists, hygienists and dental assistants, according to a March of Dimes news release. It is an adaptation of the highly successful and award-winning SMART Moms – Smart Mothers Are Resisting Tobacco, a program that trains providers who provide services to pregnant women in smoking cessation best practices.

 The Smile SMART project will be piloted with Rutherford County dental providers and the Hamilton County Health Department’s dental program, though other providers who express an interest are welcome to participate.

 The goal of Smile SMART is to empower dental professionals to use the evidence-based five A’s (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) to encourage their patients to quit smoking or decrease tobacco use, and to reduce women’s and infants’ exposure to secondhand smoke, ultimately reducing tobacco-related preterm birth, low-birth weight and other adverse birth outcomes.

 “Dental providers have opportunities to connect with their patients about the impact of smoking on their oral health as well as the impact of exposure to secondhand smoke of those around them, including children,” said Cynthia Chafin, interim director of MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services and Smile SMART project director. “We are very excited to expand the initial pilot project to include dental providers.”

 Joining Chafin will be Andrew Owusu, Ph.D., associate professor in the MTSU Department of Health and Human Performance Department, who will serve as project evaluator. Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, assistant professor in the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Department of Periodontology, will serve as a project consultant, as will Dr. Lynne Goebel of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

 In the research article titled “Tobacco Cessation Education for Dentists,” results found that “dentists with tobacco cessation training perform more interventions, report increased self-efficacy, preparedness and fewer barriers than those without training.” Dentists with cessation training were “more likely to discuss the personal relevance of quitting, roadblocks and setting quit dates, identify triggers, discuss pharmacotherapy and provide follow-up.” 

 Smile SMART will partner with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Periodontology to research changes in provider behavior in Tennessee practitioners who implement the program. The initial SMART Moms pilot project trained over 400 providers and reached over 13,000 women with one-on-one smoking cessation counseling. Results of the project were published in the Journal of Allied Health and indicated successes that exceeded programs offered in similar settings.

 Founded by the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services in 1993, the MTSU Center for Health and Human Services collaborates with public agencies, private not-for-profit organizations, and MTSU faculty and students to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans. Since 2001, CHHS and the Adams Chair have received over $7 million in grants and contracts.  

 For more information on CHHS and the Smile SMART provider training program, or to learn how the center can help meet your organization’s research, training, or education needs, contact Chafin at 615-898-5493 or cynthia.chafin@mtsu.edu or visit the Center’s website at http://www.mtsu.edu/chhs/

 About the March of Dimes

The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The March of Dimes celebrates those babies born healthy, honors those who have passed, and fights for solutions for those born prematurely or with birth defects. To honor and celebrate the babies and children who have touched your life, consider volunteering your time or making a donation to March of Dimes. Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more at www.marchofdimes.org.

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 MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/trueblue. For MTSU news anytime, visit www.MTSUnews.com.