June 29, 2012, Mountain View, CA. The El Camino Hospital District today announced that Barbara Avery, director, Community Benefit, is the 2012 recipient of the Lyda Smiley Award from the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO). The annual award honors an outstanding person – other than a school nurse – who has made a significant contribution to the well-being of children and the practice of school nursing.
"In her role as the Director for the District's Community Benefit program, Barbara has been instrumental in fostering communication between the program, school districts and community health agencies and she is an exemplary advocate for school nurses who work each day to address students' unmet health needs," said Katherine Waugh, president, California School Nurses Organization. "Because of our close collaboration, the District is fully immersed in the needs of our students and helps us chart a course to make a real difference in our community."
Through grants provided by the El Camino Hospital District for District-based schools and El Camino Hospital for schools outside of the District, five elementary school districts, including: Campbell Union, Cupertino Union, Mountain View Whisman, Sunnyvale Elementary and Santa Clara Unified have increased nurse staffing. This has allowed the nurses to provide daily one-on-one care to students who require direct medical treatment for acute care, as well as management of chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma.
In the Mountain View Whisman School District, for example, the student-to-nurse ratio prior to receiving the grants was approximately 4400:1. With the District funds, it was able to hire additional nurses and decrease the ratio to 1650:1, resulting in greater health care access to children, who often have no other health care provider outside of their school nurse.
"School nurses today are more medically involved in students' lives than ever before treating both acute and chronic conditions during the school day and it's critical that, in a time when government is cutting these programs, the Community Benefit program stands by its schools and helps ensure they have the resources they need to meet children's health needs" said Barbara Avery. "I am honored to have received this recognition from the CSNO on behalf of the District, and am pleased that our strong partnership enables us to see measurable change happening for those who are at-risk and vulnerable in our community."
The El Camino Hospital District was established by voter approval in 1956 in accordance with California Local Hospital District Law. The purpose of the District is to establish, maintain and operate or provide assistance in the operation of health facilities and other health care services provider, groups and organizations that are necessary for the maintenance of good physical and mental health in the communities served by the District. The District, now known as El Camino Healthcare District, encompasses most of Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills; a large portion of Sunnyvale, and small sections of Cupertino, Santa Clara, and Palo Alto. The publicly elected El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors approves tax dollar expenditures, including expenditures for the award winning Community Benefit program. Community Benefit funds are granted each year to local nonprofits, schools and government programs that provide critical health services to the underserved. All District Board meetings are publicly noticed, open to the public, and available for viewing on the District website.