April 15, 2005

Child health initiative targets area employers

Featured Image

On hand at the Healthy Kids 2025 announcement were, from left, VCH CEO Jim Shmerling, Kevin Myatt, associate vice chancellor of Human Relations, Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Tam Gordon, with Gov. Bredesen’s office and Robin Karr-Morse, author of “Ghosts from the Nursery.”
photo by Anne Rayner

Child health initiative targets area employers

The message behind “Healthy Kids 2025,” a new program being launched by the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, is a simple, yet powerful one — it's time for Tennessee employers to get serious about investing in the future health of children.

Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, VCH's CEO Jim Shmerling, Judge Barbara Haynes, chairman of the board of Children's Hospital and Tam Gordon, special assistant for projects for Gov. Phil Bredesen, announced plans for the public/private initiative on Tuesday, April 5. Healthy Kids 2025 is designed to help employees become more knowledgeable about children's health. State, metro and Vanderbilt employees will be the first to test the plan in a pilot that will launch in the fall.

The purpose of Healthy Kids 2025 is to get employers directly involved in educating employees about the health and welfare of our community's children. The employers will offer information supplied by the experts at VCH using such things as group e-mails, seminars and direct mail. The program will include a survey that pertains to children's health and long-term commitment from employers to emphasize the importance of children's health in the context of the workplace.

“Employers are a natural choice for this program,” said Mary Kate Mouser, director of children's health and improvement at VCH. She will also oversee Healthy Kids 2025. “It's very difficult to find programs that involve employers like this; in fact, this program may be the first of its kind. It makes sense, as a children's hospital, for us to assist our community by letting people know proven and creative ways to help children. This kind of work results in a bright future for all of us.”

Several high-profile guests attended the launch, including: State Sen. Roy Herron (D), head of the select Committee on Children and Youth; Stephanie Bailey, M.D., medical director of the Metro Health Department; hospital namesake Monroe Carell Jr.; and Dollar General owner Cal Turner III.

The initiative was announced following a community forum held at Children's Hospital. Author Robin Karr-Morse spoke about her book “Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence,” which presents startling evidence on how abuse and neglect during the first two years of life is creating a tide of violent youth.