Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guest Blogger: Phil Lawler, Importance of Medical Advisory Boards

We are always looking for ways to support our physical education programs, especially ideas that do not cost a lot of money. One of the best things we ever did in our district was to create a School District Medical Advisory Board. Our board has been active for over 10 years. The medical advisory board brought tremendous support from our community medical world. Our committee only meets once a year, but the committee is available for support throughout the school year. Our committee has grown to be quite large over the last 10 years. This committee has worked on countless projects to improve the health of children in our school and community. In the process, we were able to educate the medical community on how much the delivery of physical education had changed and they understood the value of teaming with us.

A few examples of success stories: our Medical Advisory Committee was responsible for creating written district guidelines for dealing with asthma. We started offering annual cholesterol screenings through PE class. Possibly our biggest accomplishment was getting support from the medical field to the point we almost completely eliminated medical excuses from PE with doctors support! The last 3 years we have now offered free EKG screenings to all of our high school students (not just athletes - all students). The communication and support for from the medical community has been priceless.

Our school district nurse was the person that first organized our Medical Advisory Board. Click here to view the letter she sends out to the medical community. Below is a short note she sent to a district that recently inquired about starting a Medical Advisory Board in their community:


Phil Lawler gave me your email address. He said that you were interested in starting a medical advisory board in your district. Ours has been a great resource for us . I am attaching the letter that we send to prospective members. We try to have representation from the pediatricians and family physicians in the community as well as a representative from other disciplines like cardiology, ENTs, neurologists, psychologists, infectious disease, etc. From the staff we have the Superintendent and Special Ed. /Student Services Director, our Community Relations person, our head psych and social worker, our nurses, trainers, PE representatives, etc. We meet for a breakfast that we provide once per year and then ask that the members be on call for questions as they arise. We pick the topics for our agenda from issues that arise during the year as well as from concerns/questions that members submit.

Please let me know if you need further information. 

Ellen Wolff

Trust me, this will be one project worth adding to your list of things to do.

Phil Lawler

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