Skip to content

About Us arrow_drop_down_circle

Our Mission

Our Mission

Project Healthy Schools is a Community-University of Michigan collaboration designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the current and future health of Michigan’s youth.  It is one of only a few school-based programs that have demonstrated significant and lasting improvements in health behavior and cardiovascular risk factors.

Through education and wellness activities, Project Healthy Schools enables middle school students to increase physical activity, eat healthier, and understand how nutrition and activity influence their lifelong health.  In addition, once implemented in a school, the program continues year after year, benefitting future generations of students.

Project Healthy Schools is a Community-University of Michigan collaboration designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the current and future health of Michigan’s youth.  It is one of only a few school-based programs that have demonstrated significant and lasting improvements in health behavior and cardiovascular risk factors.

Through education and wellness activities, Project Healthy Schools enables middle school students to increase physical activity, eat healthier, and understand how nutrition and activity influence their lifelong health.  In addition, once implemented in a school, the program continues year after year, benefitting future generations of students.

We help schools through our 
wellness initiatives
lesson curriculum
online resource portal
on-site consultations
We help schools through our 
wellness initiatives
lesson curriculum
online resource portal
on-site consultations

Our History

Project Healthy Schools (PHS) has been encouraging healthy habits in youth through education, environmental change and measurement since 2004 and has grown into a multifaceted program. Our program is currently in use in 106 schools throughout Michigan. PHS stands out from similar programs because of its evaluation results, extensive community partnerships, and strong team of experts. In addition, the hands-on lessons and program components are designed to engage the entire school community in meaningful and lasting ways, making the program a very sustainable approach to school-based health.

With rising childhood obesity rates across the state and country, our approach is to reach students with education and engaging experiences at school, where they spend a significant amount of their time. Studies have clearly shown that students who eat healthier and get more physical activity have a greater likelihood of becoming healthy adults, and they are better able to learn in the classroom. Additionally, during the middle school ages of adolescence they are establishing behaviors that may last into adulthood. Project Healthy Schools lessons and activities focus on developing healthy habits around five basic goals: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less sugary foods and beverages, eat less fast and fatty foods, be active every day, and spend less time in front of a screen.

Project Healthy Schools began in one Ann Arbor middle school in the 2004–2005 school year. Since then, the program has been implemented in over 120 schools across Michigan and continues in nearly 90% of those schools. For a complete list of participating schools see the Schools List.

As of fall 2020, over 75,000 sixth graders have participated in PHS since 2004.

The research team at Project Healthy Schools uses survey and biometric data to evaluate the effects of the program on lifestyle factors, markers of cardiovascular risk, and obesity. To date, more than 23,000 students have participated in this research since the program started in 2004. Many studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals that highlight insights from our research, including studies identifying that students had significant reductions in blood pressure, resting heart rate, and bad cholesterol after the implementation of Project Healthy Schools in their school building. In addition, approximately 890 Ann Arbor and approximately 240 Ypsilanti students participated in follow-up studies, making it possible to evaluate the program’s long-term effectiveness. Results indicated that the program is beneficial, and has a lasting impact beyond middle school.

Our History

Project Healthy Schools (PHS) has been encouraging healthy habits in youth through education, environmental change and measurement since 2004 and has grown into a multifaceted program. Our program is currently in use in 106 schools throughout Michigan. PHS stands out from similar programs because of its evaluation results, extensive community partnerships, and strong team of experts. In addition, the hands-on lessons and program components are designed to engage the entire school community in meaningful and lasting ways, making the program a very sustainable approach to school-based health.

With rising childhood obesity rates across the state and country, our approach is to reach students with education and engaging experiences at school, where they spend a significant amount of their time. Studies have clearly shown that students who eat healthier and get more physical activity have a greater likelihood of becoming healthy adults, and they are better able to learn in the classroom. Additionally, during the middle school ages of adolescence they are establishing behaviors that may last into adulthood. Project Healthy Schools lessons and activities focus on developing healthy habits around five basic goals: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less sugary foods and beverages, eat less fast and fatty foods, be active every day, and spend less time in front of a screen.

Project Healthy Schools began in one Ann Arbor middle school in the 2004–2005 school year. Since then, the program has been implemented in over 120 schools across Michigan and continues in nearly 90% of those schools. For a complete list of participating schools see the Schools List.

As of fall 2020, over 75,000 sixth graders have participated in PHS since 2004.

The research team at Project Healthy Schools uses survey and biometric data to evaluate the effects of the program on lifestyle factors, markers of cardiovascular risk, and obesity. To date, more than 23,000 students have participated in this research since the program started in 2004. Many studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals that highlight insights from our research, including studies identifying that students had significant reductions in blood pressure, resting heart rate, and bad cholesterol after the implementation of Project Healthy Schools in their school building. In addition, approximately 890 Ann Arbor and approximately 240 Ypsilanti students participated in follow-up studies, making it possible to evaluate the program’s long-term effectiveness. Results indicated that the program is beneficial, and has a lasting impact beyond middle school.

APS Wetsman Photos from CVC Tour107
Our Nephrology Program
DSCN1052
Health Ambassador Program
Student Wellness Initiative
Healthy Snack Tasting at School
running-wellness-initiative
School Physical Activity Wellness Initiative
well-champ-gathering
Annual Wellness Champion Gathering (2017)
School-Wellness-Awards
PHS School Wellness Award Recipients at State Capital (2019)

How PHS Works

A school-based health promotion program designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the present and future health of youth.

Throughout the school year, Project Healthy Schools staff partner with schools to complete a five-step process toward a healthier school environment. This involves forming a school-based wellness team, conducting a needs assessment to identify priorities and opportunities, creating an action plan, taking action through hands-on lessons and wellness programming, and measuring success. Resulting school-wide changes may include improvements to cafeteria menus, investments in indoor and outdoor physical activity infrastructure, or enhancement of school wellness policies.

At the beginning and end of the program, students complete a health behavior questionnaire. In the past, results from the post-program questionnaire and wellness screening consistently show that participants adopt healthier behaviors and make significant improvements in health risk factors, such as total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels, blood sugar, and measures of fitness.

phs_5_step_graphic

How PHS Works

Throughout the school year, Project Healthy Schools staff partner with schools to complete a five-step process toward a healthier school environment. This involves forming a school-based wellness team, conducting a needs assessment to identify priorities and opportunities, creating an action plan, taking action through hands-on lessons and wellness programming, and measuring success. Resulting school-wide changes may include improvements to cafeteria menus, investments in indoor and outdoor physical activity infrastructure, or enhancement of school wellness policies.

At the beginning and end of the program, students complete a health behavior questionnaire. In the past, results from the post-program questionnaire and wellness screening consistently show that participants adopt healthier behaviors and make significant improvements in health risk factors, such as total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels, blood sugar, and measures of fitness.

A school-based health promotion program designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the present and future health of youth.

5 Goals of Project Healthy Schools

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Less sugary food and beverages
Less fast and fatty foods
Be active every day
Less screen time

5 Goals of Project Healthy Schools

Tap inside a square

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Choose less sugary food and beverages
Eat less fast and fatty food
Be active every day
Spend less time in front of a screen

Project Healthy Schools 5 Steps to School Success

Project Healthy Schools works with schools to implement the five-step process, which lays the groundwork for continued success and sustainability of a healthy school culture. This five-step process includes 1) Build support, 2) Assess school wellness culture, 3) School wellness improvement plan (SWIP), 4) Take action, and 5) Measure success.

Step 1

Build Support

The first step to a healthy school is gaining support from a collaborative team of individuals who are committed to school health. Wellness teams and wellness champions are key in completing each step and leading the efforts to create and sustain a healthier school environment.

Step 2

Assess School Wellness Culture

During each year of the program, schools will assess their school wellness culture and use the data to identify school-wide goals that improve the school wellness environment.

Step 3

School Wellness Improvement Plan

Create an action plan -- Use the information from all the assessments in step two to guide your planning. Prioritize the wellness areas that need attention and set up some high-level wellness goals. Then explore all the resources available from the program and create an action plan.

Step 4

Take Action

Start teaching the 10 PHS lessons. Utilize your wellness team to help implement your School Wellness Improvement Plan (SWIP) by hosting your 4 planned wellness initiatives (nutrition, physical activity, staff wellness, and school-specific wellness).

Step 5

Measure Success

Students will complete the Post-Lesson Student Survey. All teachers who taught the PHS lessons complete the Post-Lesson Teacher Survey. Think of some success stories to share with PHS and the community.

Our Founders

Our Founders

Kim Eagle, M.D.

Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine, Director, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Co-Founder, Project Healthy Schools

The alarming increase of childhood obesity and other preventable cardiovascular risk factors compelled Dr. Kim Eagle to contribute with a solution in 2004 through the co-founding of the Project Healthy Schools program. Dr. Eagle is the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center at Michigan Medicine. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1976 and from Tufts University Medical School in 1979. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1979 to 1983 followed by research and clinical fellowships in cardiology and health services research at Harvard Medical School and The Massachusetts General Hospital from 1983 through 1986. From 1986 to 1994, Dr. Eagle served The Massachusetts General Hospital where he was promoted to associate director of Clinical Cardiology and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard.
Since his recruitment to the University of Michigan, he oversees a vigorous outcomes research program focusing on quality, cost-effectiveness, use of practice guidelines in cardiovascular care, evaluation and management of acute coronary syndromes, the evaluation and management of aortic dissection, and the use of modern mathematical models to assess outcomes and risk. His outcomes research team has led quality improvement initiatives across the state of Michigan in acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and coronary angioplasty. He also maintains an active inpatient and outpatient practice through the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

Kim Eagle, M.D.

Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine, Director, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Co-Founder, Project Healthy Schools

The alarming increase of childhood obesity and other preventable cardiovascular risk factors compelled Dr. Kim Eagle to contribute with a solution in 2004 through the co-founding of the Project Healthy Schools program. Dr. Eagle is the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center at Michigan Medicine. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1976 and from Tufts University Medical School in 1979. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1979 to 1983 followed by research and clinical fellowships in cardiology and health services research at Harvard Medical School and The Massachusetts General Hospital from 1983 through 1986. From 1986 to 1994, Dr. Eagle served The Massachusetts General Hospital where he was promoted to associate director of Clinical Cardiology and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard.
Since his recruitment to the University of Michigan, he oversees a vigorous outcomes research program focusing on quality, cost-effectiveness, use of practice guidelines in cardiovascular care, evaluation and management of acute coronary syndromes, the evaluation and management of aortic dissection, and the use of modern mathematical models to assess outcomes and risk. His outcomes research team has led quality improvement initiatives across the state of Michigan in acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and coronary angioplasty. He also maintains an active inpatient and outpatient practice through the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

Dr. Eagle receiving the Ann Arbor Rotary Club's highest award, Distinguished Service Award.
Dr. Eagle and the PHS team receiving the University of Michigan President's Award of Distinction.
Dr. Eagle speaking at the 2019 PHS Wellness Champion Gathering.
Dr. Eagle's favorite pastime is fly fishing.
Previous
Next

Co-Founder

LaVaugn Palma-Davis

Former Senior Director, University Health and Well-Being Services

LaVaughn Palma-Davis also co-founded the Project Healthy Schools program. She retired as the Senior Director for Health and Well-Being Services at the University of Michigan in 2018. During her many years in this role, she provided leadership for strategy, business development, program implementation, marketing, operations, and evaluation of MHealthy—an ambitious effort to leverage the University’s resources to promote the health and well-being of over 80,000 faculty, staff, dependents and retirees on 4 campuses, including the Health System. MHealthy also provides wellness and risk reduction services to Michigan Medicine patients and the community to support the organization’s population health management goals.
LaVaughn served on the national Health Enhancement Research Organization’s (HERO) Board of Trustees from 2010 until her retirement in 2018. LaVaughn has over 30 years of experience in health care administration and health promotion. Prior to her role leading U-M’s MHealthy, LaVaughn served as the administrative director for sports medicine, preventive cardiology and cardiac rehab programs and oversaw the Health System Child Care Center. She also was the project director for leadership development strategy for the Health System. LaVaughn received her B.S. in Health Education from the University of Dayton and her Master’s Degree in Public Health Education from Central Michigan University.

Co-Founder

LaVaugn Palma-Davis

Former Senior Director, University Health and Well-Being Services

LaVaughn Palma-Davis also co-founded the Project Healthy Schools program. She retired as the Senior Director for Health and Well-Being Services at the University of Michigan in 2018. During her many years in this role, she provided leadership for strategy, business development, program implementation, marketing, operations, and evaluation of MHealthy—an ambitious effort to leverage the University’s resources to promote the health and well-being of over 80,000 faculty, staff, dependents and retirees on 4 campuses, including the Health System. MHealthy also provides wellness and risk reduction services to Michigan Medicine patients and the community to support the organization’s population health management goals.
LaVaughn served on the national Health Enhancement Research Organization’s (HERO) Board of Trustees from 2010 until her retirement in 2018. LaVaughn has over 30 years of experience in health care administration and health promotion. Prior to her role leading U-M’s MHealthy, LaVaughn served as the administrative director for sports medicine, preventive cardiology and cardiac rehab programs and oversaw the Health System Child Care Center. She also was the project director for leadership development strategy for the Health System. LaVaughn received her B.S. in Health Education from the University of Dayton and her Master’s Degree in Public Health Education from Central Michigan University.

Start PHS in Your School

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami