MONTGOMERY – Through a $23,000 Verizon Foundation grant, Auburn University wireless engineering students have developed a specialized software program creating an automatic data processing system for the KidCheck Program of Governor Bob Riley's Alabama Rural Action Commission.
This pilot program was successfully launched in April at four KidCheck events in the Bullock County School System.
This is a collaborative effort between the Auburn University's College of Engineering and School of Nursing. The Auburn University School of Nursing has partnered with Bullock County and several other KidCheck school systems.
Through KidCheck, the AU nursing students provide comprehensive health screenings to school children during a school day.
Dr. Richard Chapman, Dean of the Auburn University College of Engineering, said "A project such as this, developing a computer system to support KidCheck, gives our students incredible motivation beyond what we can do in the classroom. More importantly, at the end of the day they can see that their work really did some good."
"The assessments made by the students and faculty of the School of Nursing are key to identifying and responding to significant health needs among the children in Alabama. The technology provided by this grant ensures both individual follow-up and aggregate reporting of population health needs," said Dr. Gregg E. Newschwander, Dean of the Auburn University School of Nursing.
Through this grant, portable wireless devices were purchased and the Auburn University engineering students created the software program that allowed each child's screening results to immediately be scanned into the computers.
With no paperwork necessary, reports were instantly generated to notify parents of their children's screening results and follow-up care including referrals will now be directed much more efficiently. This system ensures that all data is accurately collected and is confidential.
Julie Smith, Verizon's Vice President of External Affairs, Southern Division, said "Technology--especially wireless technology--is perfectly positioned to help address disparities in the access to quality healthcare especially for rural areas.
Verizon is thrilled to partner with Auburn University as their wireless engineering students partner with nursing students to put relevant technology in the hands of the nurses as they provide much-needed KidCheck health screenings to children in need in Alabama.
Using technology to give underserved populations access to healthcare information is at the core of the mission of the Verizon Foundation."
Chad Nichols, Executive Director of ARAC and State Director of KidCheck, said "Through the creativity of these Auburn University wireless engineering students, we now have a model in place illustrating the revolutionary impact that technology can have on the entire KidCheck process. I want to thank the Verizon Foundation and the Auburn University College of Engineering and School of Nursing faculty and students for their leadership in making this a reality. We hope to expand this pilot to other KidCheck schools across Alabama."
Governor Riley created the KidCheck Program in May 2008.
The Alabama Power Foundation and the Blue Cross / Blue Shield Alabama Child Caring Foundation are State Supporters of KidCheck.
The KidCheck Program won the AUM Center for Governments Innovative Award for Program Innovation at the State / Regional Level. KidCheck is modeled after successful health screening programs that have taken place in the Bibb County and Blount County School Systems for over a decade.
Through KidCheck, ARAC builds partnerships between college nursing schools and interested school systems to conduct free health screenings for K-12 children in our state. ARAC also builds partnerships to provide necessary follow-up care including vision, dental, and public health insurance. Over 35 school systems and over 20 college nursing schools across all parts of Alabama are now involved with KidCheck.
The Alabama Rural Action Commission was part of Plan 2010 which the Governor unveiled in 2006. ARAC was then created by the Governor in 2007 to build partnerships to improve health care, education, and economic development across Alabama. Chad Nichols serves as Executive Director of ARAC and as State Director of KidCheck. State Banking Superintendent John Harrison and Margaret Bentley of Alabama Power Company serve as State Co-Chairs of ARAC.