Why St. James Parish Students Might Be the Healthiest in Louisiana

Published 1:04 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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St. James Parish Hospital and St. James Parish Public School System have fortified their partnership, extending beyond a decade of collaborative efforts to promote health and education within the community. This enduring alliance has enabled a range of initiatives, including on-site health screenings, vaccination programs, sports physicals, sponsorships, and comprehensive career development opportunities for students and adults with disabilities.

Highlighting the significance of such collaborations, Chris Kimball, Superintendent of St. James Parish Public Schools, remarked, “Partnerships between public schools and local hospitals are crucial for the overall well-being of communities. These collaborations can have a significant impact on the health and education of individuals.”

A recent advancement in this partnership is the selection of St. James Parish Hospital as the official healthcare provider for Lutcher High School Athletics. This new phase introduces a dedicated Lead Athletic Trainer, tasked with establishing a robust sports medicine program focused on injury prevention, educational initiatives, and enhanced care coordination for student-athletes.

Superintendent Kimball further emphasized the benefits of integrating healthcare expertise within the educational framework. “Schools benefit from the expertise of healthcare professionals in promoting health and wellness among students. This includes education on nutrition, exercise, and mental health, as well as preventive care and screenings within the school setting,” he stated.

The partnership’s objective is to create a nurturing environment that comprehensively supports the community’s needs, fostering both educational success and overall well-being. “The partnership between St. James Parish Public Schools and our local hospital is a powerful means of creating a supportive environment that addresses the comprehensive needs of individuals contributing to the overall well-being, educational success, and future prospects of our community’s residents,” Kimball added.

Mary Ellen Pratt, CEO of St. James Parish Hospital, expressed enthusiasm about the evolving relationship with the school system, particularly under Superintendent Kimball’s leadership. “We are extremely excited to see our partnership with the public school system grow under the direction of new superintendent Chris Kimball,” she said.

Pratt also shared the hospital’s vision for the future. “We look forward to implementing additional wellness services beyond traditional health care and expanding our partnership to support more schools and students in our local community,” she concluded, underscoring a commitment to broadening the scope of health services offered to the students of St. James Parish.

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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