Good Day from New Jersey! Nurse Katie and Nurse Jami applied for a grant from Johnson & Johnson to attend a week-long, school health leadership program. I am the community partner/administrator on the team.

As of this writing (Tuesday at lunch), the program has been very well done and quite intense; essentially from dawn until dark. I shared with the ladies it reminds me of portions of my doctoral program; system evaluation, group dynamics, systemic change, etc.

Seneca is joined this week by schools from Texas, Colorado, New York and New Jersey.

It is exciting to me that Johnson & Johnson and Rutgers University selected us for this program. The training our nurses are receiving is top-notch and will serve our community for many years into the future. J&J/Rutgers pick up the total cost of the training, housing, food and incidentals. The school district purchased the airfare and car transportation.

We will now join Carl Junction and McDonald County as local Missouri schools with J&J trained fellows.

Not only are we learning valuable skills, we will also be exploring health initiatives that will have an impact on Seneca schoolchildren, the staff and the community as a whole.

While doing the needs assessment of Seneca prior to coming to NJ, overall wellness and access to health care were two areas we felt need exploration. Based upon this and the health profile of our area code, we will be looking to partner with interested parties who want to join us in examining ways we can make a sustainable, practical improvement on the overall health of our community.

I commend our nurses on the critical function they carry out in our district. Their initiative to apply for this grant will be beneficial for not only our students, but the broader community as well.

Please take time to ask Nurse Katie or Nurse Jami about their experience when you see them. In addition, if you would like to be involved in any health-related initiatives that we explore with the community, please let us know.

By Dr. Jim Cummins

(Dr. Jim Cummins is superintendent of the Seneca R-7 School District. He can be reached at


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