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Although they spend far less time with children than do teachers, school nurses are often the first people to spot a health problem that may be affecting a child's potential to succeed in school.

With the goal of increasing school nurses' skill in assessing children's health and identifying problems, the National Association of School Nurses has held nine regional seminars--the Primary and Secondary Health and Developmental History Assessment Skills Seminars. The project is supported by a $150,950 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In the seminars, participants are taught to "examine the medical, developmental, psychological, and environmental factors" that may affect learning. The "health profile" that is developed can be used for further health management and can be given to teachers to help them develop individualized education plans. The process is particularly useful in working with and identifying handicapped students, says Carol J. Iverson, project director.

Although no formal data have yet been gathered on the project's results, the response from the participants has been "very positive," says Ms. Iverson. To date, 261 nurses have participated and pledged to hold seminars for school nurses in their regions.

For more information, write to Carol J. Iverson, Project Director, 4227 Arizona, Grand Island, Neb. 68801.


Three years ago, in an effort to counter some of the effects of poverty on Mexican-American children, an anthropologist and educator named Emily Vargas Adams formed the Center for the Development of Non-Formal Education in Austin, Tex.

When she began the program, 41 percent of the children involved in it were below average in their physical and mental development. The staff members taught mothers about nutrition, health care, and the need to stimulate their children intellectually.

Two years later, after an expenditure of only $28 per month on each child, 84 percent of the children were above normal in measures of development.

This year, a $178,191 grant from the Ford Foundation will help the center to reach more children in the vicinity of Austin. The grant was part of $3 million that the foundation recently contributed to programs around the world aimed at improving the health of poor children.


For teen-age girls, the nonthreatening, discreet, and nonjudgmental behavior of a physician is more important than the physician's sex or age, according to research conducted at the University of California at San Francisco.

Asked to rank the most desirable characteristics in a physician, the young women responded that "easy to talk to" was the most important trait, followed by "doesn't tell others my thoughts," "doesn't judge me," and "knows a lot." Next in importance were "takes a lot of time," "already knows me," and "is female."

--sw

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