July 13, 2023

Ask a Health Professional: Whole Child Health Forum Boost Families’ Education and Confidence in Vaccines

Healthier Generation is partnering with North Carolina communities and local organizations to increase vaccine confidence.

Healthier Generation continues to partner with Robeson and Bertie Counties in North Carolina to increase vaccination rates among school-aged youth. Through partnerships with local school districts, health departments, and community organizations, we conducted surveys with community members that evaluated their vaccine attitudes, beliefs, and access. The analysis revealed that people wanted to talk to physicians about vaccines because they trust them, but it was not always easy getting the opportunity to do so.

A panel of health professionals participated in the Robeson County Whole Child Health Forum.

To address this barrier, we teamed up with Public Schools of Robeson County and Bertie County Schools to support two Whole Child Health Forums titled, “Ask a Health Professional.” These partnership-led events provided the community with direct access to healthcare professionals and an opportunity for families to ask questions about required and recommended vaccines.

The panels included school nurses, a clinical physician, and Health Department staff representatives. Families were given an index card with common vaccine-related questions, or they could ask a question of their choosing.

Educational giveaways at the Whole Child Health Forum in Bertie County.

The first forum was held in November 2022 at Bertie Middle School. The forum was co-hosted by Albemarle Regional Health Department, A Better Chance a Better Community (ABC2), NC Healthier Together and Healthier Generation.

The second forum was held in January 2023 at the Southeastern Agricultural Center in Robeson County, which is frequented by the community as the local farmers market. Public Schools of Robeson County collaborated with Food and Nutrition Services, the Health Department, and additional community partners to host the event.

Expert panelists at the Whole Child Health Forum in Robeson County.

English and non-English-speaking families attended the forum to learn more about their role in supporting their children's health and academic achievement. Families then participated in an activity centered around the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model to support them in helping their child feel healthy, safe, engaged, and supported in school. 

Mental, vision, and dental health professionals also attended to discuss their role in ensuring children were healthy and ready to succeed. They shared information highlighting their services and offered samples of items available through their agencies.

Panelists participate in Whole Child Health Forum.

Families received personal protective equipment provided by NC Healthier Together and winter gear from one of the community partners. Children could look through a selection of books and educational items and have a little fun with coloring activities laid out on the tables. Raffle prizes were a bonus to keep families engaged and to finish out the night, a hot meal was provided by Child Nutrition.

We are excited to continue our community partnerships to increase vaccine confidence and access for families.

Visit our vaccine resource hub to learn more about how you can help protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

-By Jukelia Bess, Program Manager, Special Projects at Healthier Generation