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Nashville Collaborative aimed to help Latino families to launch June 28

Jun. 27, 2008, 10:07 AM

The Nashville Collaborative, a partnership between the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation to improve child health, will launch Saturday, June 28.

A program launch celebration will take place at the Coleman Regional Community Center at 384 Thompson Lane in south Nashville, the flagship site of the Nashville Collaborative, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The Nashville Collaborative centers on strengthening families and neighborhoods, particularly in underserved areas, by targeting childhood obesity prevention and treatment through education, service, and program evaluation initiatives.

Recently, the Collaborative received a Tennessee Project Diabetes grant to work on obesity prevention with Latino families who have young children. This will be done by encouraging healthy habits, positive parenting and goal setting. These families will each receive a free one year membership to the Community Center, which features a gym, fitness center, indoor swimming pool and other resources.

Shari Barkin, M.D., is director of the Division of General Pediatrics at Vanderbilt and the executive director of the Nashville Collaborative.

The Collaborative’s executive committee includes community members from the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation, Alignment Nashville, the Department of Pediatrics from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Vanderbilt University’s Center for Health Services, among others. Barkin has launched a sister Collaborative site in North Carolina.

"Together these kinds of family-centered, community-based networks can work to solve common public health issues, such as pediatric obesity," Barkin said. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Metro Parks and Recreation to make a real difference in the health of children who live in this community."

Paul Widman, assistant director of Metro Parks and Recreation and co-director of the Nashville Collaborative, said that this program, and its sister program, are unlike anything else being done in the nation.

"The Collaborative is bringing together so many resources we would not otherwise have access to," he said.

At its launch, many of the center’s services that will be available to the community will be spotlighted.

Students from Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Meharry School of Medicine will be on hand to provide blood pressure screening and information about local clinics. The students plan to be on site once a month to perform health screening and education related to childhood obesity in the family.

"This will be a great opportunity to practice medicine in a community setting instead of a clinical setting," said Brad Hill, one of the medical student leaders working as part of the Nashville Collaborative.

"It’s so important to gain trust and show a presence and support the community. The overall goal is prevention and early intervention."

Healthy cooking demonstrations will be given during the launch and twice-monthly teaching kitchens at the center will provide hands-on skills for eating healthy as a family. The event will also feature a performance by Root Soup, as well as interactive games and activities, sponsored by Children’s Hospital.

Media Contact: Carole Bartoo,(615) 322-4747

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