Published on August 28, 2014 by Katie Stripling  
Nursing student at Huffman Academy

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has received Sight Savers America’s inaugural KidCheck Plus Nursing School of the Year Award. Samford nursing students partner with KidCheck Plus, a school-based health screening program, to provide head to toe screenings for PreK-12th grade students in rural and urban Alabama. Samford is one of the program’s 20 nursing school partners in Alabama.

Nursing school dean Eleanor V. Howell, associate dean Joy Whatley and nursing faculty member and partnership manager Elaine Marshall accepted the award during an Aug. 26 presentation ceremony at Samford.

“We are extremely proud to announce that the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing is our 2013-14 KidCheck Plus Nursing School of the Year,” said Chad Nichols, chief operating officer of Sight Savers America.  “Under the leadership of Elaine Marshall, the school’s faculty, staff and students embody the leadership, dedication, and service that this award is all about. We are proud of our partnership with Samford University and we look forward to continuing to work together to make a difference in our state.”

Nichols noted that Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing was selected for this honor based on its superior communication and partnership with their program; faculty leadership that encourages a positive work effort and inspires a spirit of service; outstanding involvement with the program and a willingness to participate when possible; and exceptional organization and dependability at their KidCheck Plus health screening events.

According to Marshall, students gain a greater understanding of the health challenges facing underserved communities by working with the KidCheck Plus program. In 2013-14, Samford nursing students provided 1,832 health screenings at nine schools. A number of issues were identified, leading to nearly 700 referrals. Following each screening, reports were sent home to parents and provided to each school’s nurse.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Sight Savers America in providing screening services, and with the families served by the health promotion programs,” said Howell. “Through this partnership students develop skills in analyzing health data in relation to normal growth and development parameters and in communicating with students and professionals in the schools. This also provides school children an opportunity to see nurses in one of their most important roles—promoting the health of the public.”  

“The Sight Savers America KidCheck Plus program delivers a win/win for children, schools, nursing students, colleges and universities and our communities,” added Nichols. More than 20,000 children are screened through KidCheck Plus each year and of the children screened, approximately 50 percent have identifiable health needs. Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has partnered with the program for two years and will continue its involvement in 2014-15. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.