Project Healthy Schools: Empowering Youth to Make Lifelong Healthy Choices

Program Description

Jean DuRussel-Weston, Program Manager for Project Healthy Schools

Jean DuRussel-Weston, RN, MPH

Manager, Project Healthy Schools, Michigan Medicine (formerly University of Michigan Health System)


AAOHN 1.05 | AAFP 1.0 | ACSM 1.0 | CDR 1.0 | NCHEC 1.0 (advanced)

Childhood obesity is increasing in the United States; obese children are more likely to become obese adults with obesity-associated health issues. Project Healthy Schools (PHS) is a Community-University of Michigan collaborative designed to provide middle school-based programming enhancing students’ health literacy, reducing childhood obesity and its long-term health risks. PHS is a health curriculum that includes educational lessons, school environment changes, and health measurement. Data shows improvement in numerous metrics after the program, including positive changes in physiologic measures and healthier lifestyle behaviors, correlation of a school’s socioeconomic status with baseline and follow-up measures, and the existence of gender differences. Additionally, school environmental changes support improved health behaviors. The collaborative effort and support of various stakeholders have led to the success of Project Healthy Schools, resulting in numerous, and lasting physiologic and behavioral benefits in middle school students throughout Michigan, and providing a replicable, real-world approach to combating childhood obesity.


Presenter Bio(s):

As Program Manager for Project Healthy Schools within Michigan Medicine, (formerly the University of Michigan Health System), Jean DuRussel-Weston is responsible for the overall direction, growth and sustainability of Project Healthy Schools in over 80 schools. Project Healthy Schools (PHS) is a Community-University of Michigan collaborative designed to provide middle school-based programming enhancing students’ health literacy and reducing childhood obesity and CVD health risks. The program encourages healthy habits through education, environmental change and measurement and is being implemented across the state of Michigan. Jean earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Jean is a registered nurse and certified health education specialist with over 30 years of experience in Public Health as a Public Health Nurse for Washtenaw County, Community Health Educator for Chelsea Community Hospital and several positions within Michigan Medicine. Jean has been on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University’s School of Nursing and the University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Allied Health Professions and Studies. Jean has also served as the Director of Patient Education for Michigan Medicine. In addition, Jean is a frequent speaker at national health promotion conferences and contributor to national articles on childhood obesity and Project Healthy Schools.