FLDOE and USF "Healthy Schools Project" receives $385,800 for HIV/AIDS and Tobacco Prevention; Nutrition Education

TAMPA, Fla. (May 2, 2008) – Schools by themselves cannot solve the nation’s most serious health and social problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC calls for the systematic involvement of families, health care workers, the media, religious organizations, community organizations that serve youth, and young people themselves.  Nonetheless, schools can offer an avenue for various agencies to work together to maintain the wellbeing of young people.  A new CDC effort is advancing such an approach.

The University of South Florida College of Education’s Michael Curtisa nd George Batsche have been awarded $385,800 from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for a 1-year “Healthy Schools Project.”  They will be working with Penny Detscher, director of the Office of Healthy Schools who will coordinate all project activities.  The project will assist the FLDOE in providing training, consultation, resources development, technical assistance, personnel and travel administration in three components: HIV/AIDS Prevention Education, Nutrition Education, and Tobacco Prevention. 

•  The HIV prevention education component will focus on health risks of Florida’s youth involved in negative sexual behaviors often related to alcohol/drug use as well as accompanying myths fed by misinformation through media and other outside influences.

•  The nutrition education component, with the support from U.S. Department of Agriculture and FLDOE Food and Nutrition Services, will provide education training and technical assistance to district school food service personnel and families. 

•  The tobacco prevention component will facilitate teacher training to reduce and prevent the use of tobacco products by children. 

“I am confident that the USF Healthy Schools Project contains the right blend of risk behavior area experts, partnerships and resources to be highly effective in responding to the needs of Florida’s children,” said Detscher.

The Healthy Schools Project serves all 67 Florida school districts with a special emphasis in serving ten districts known as the Healthy District Collaborative, representing 1196 schools.  These ten districts (Brevard, Duval, Escambia, Hardee, Hillsborough, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Marion, and Gadsden) have elected to work together toward the implementation of the Coordinated School Health (CSH) approach in all schools.   The project has forged a strong collaborative partnership among the FLDOE, the Florida Department of Health (DOH), Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, local school districts, and communities to support its goals and mission. 

“This project presents us with an opportunity to work with others in impacting Florida’s children during their early years in ways that may benefit them throughout their lives,” said Curtis.

This methodology took shape in 1992 when the CDC began supporting states in the development of an infrastructure that facilitates implementation of the Coordinated School Health model.  The FLDOE, through the Office of Healthy Schools, has been promoting and sustaining a State-coordinated school health interagency agreement with the Department of Health for over a decade to systematically involve key stakeholders to jointly address these critical issues.

The USF College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. We are the 7th largest public college of education in the nation. Visit us at USF on iTunes U: itunes.usf.edu and on our website at: www.coedu.usf.edu.


The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference

– USF –