Originally from Louisville, KY, Dr. Mary E. Fleming attended Xavier University of Louisiana for her undergraduate degree. She then relocated to Nashville, TN to complete her medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Meharry Medical College. Due to her interests in eradicating health inequities and improving healthcare for the underserved, she matriculated to Harvard Medical School as a Commonwealth Fellow in Minority Health Policy where she also obtained a Masters in Public Health. Now as an attending at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton, PA, she hopes to use her training to serve the members of this community.
Mary Fleming, MD, MPH
OB/GYN locums physician
Healthier Children Make Healthier Students: Rethinking Health Education in Boston Public Schools
The goal of this project will be to develop a comprehensive, age-appropriate health education curriculum drawing from National, State and Local Standards to address the needs of Boston Public School (BPS) students.
The Boston Public School System’s Department for Health and Wellness committed to revising and expanding the Health Standards for grades K-12. Currently, the challenges of the BPS students include obesity, inadequate physical activity, violence and risk behaviors. In rewriting the Health Standards, we will be mindful of providing medically-accurate, medically-appropriate and comprehensive information on all subjects from Healthy Eating Habits to Violence Prevention to Reproductive Health. Framing the curriculum in the context of a whole person, we will address the health needs of students as it extends from the individual level to the community level while acknowledging the urban setting in which the students reside.
Creating a model that centered on the student as an important part of a larger community led to the development of the framework Me, You, Us and Community. This four-part framework meshes well with the four grading periods and contains 10 major content areas in alignment with other curricula across the state and across the country. While focusing on nutrition and physical activity, the curriculum also emphasizes aspects important to an urban area such as safety and injury prevention and substance use prevention. Also, the curriculum contains age-appropriate sexual health and mental and emotional health skills.
As most persons in public health agree, education may be the most profound predictor of health in the future and educating our youth should include a strong foundation in health curriculum. BPS plans to move forward with implementation and assessment of this new model in the next school year. By integrating health topics into traditional content courses and then focusing on skill attainment in higher grades, BPS intends to prepare their students to actively engage in learning health and practicing healthy behaviors.
Preceptor and Sponsoring Agency:
Barbara Huscher-Cohen, Boston Public Schools, Department of Health and Wellness