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Sight Savers America Can Further Expand Alabama's KidCheck Program, Bringing Wireless Health Screenings To Students In Rural Schools, With Grant From The Verizon Foundation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 24, 2012   /PRNewswire/ -- KidCheck, an award-winning school-based health-screening program in Alabama that is the only one of its kind in the country, can continue to expand its wireless screening technology, launched in September, with a $25,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic institution of Verizon.

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Through a previous $100,000 grant from the Foundation, KidCheck developed a unique online health screening software program to increase efficiency of the screening process, data collection, and the coordination of follow-up services. KidCheck has screened over 12,000 K-12 Alabama school children wirelessly since they began using the new wireless software on September 1. 

KidCheck began providing free health screenings to students in rural Alabama schools in 2008, and in the beginning all health screening results were captured on paper.  Working in conjunction with school nurses, all screening results had to be sorted manually which slowed down the coordination of follow-up services and made data collection and analysis extremely difficult.  The idea to move from a paper-based screening system to a wireless system originated from Auburn University, and their College of Engineering and School of Nursing successfully piloted a wireless screening system at KidCheck events in 2010 through a Verizon Foundation grant.

Chad Nichols, Senior Director of KidCheck for Sight Savers America, which manages the statewide program, said, "The KidCheck program has changed the lives of young people simply by identifying health issues such as vision, dental, blood pressure, hearing and other problems that can impact the child's health and their performance in school." 

Saranda Blythe, 15, a student at J.B. Pennington High School in Blount County, learned over the course of a few years participating in KidCheck that she suffered from a nervous system disorder called dysautonomia.

"They realized I had vision problems, then a couple years later my blood pressure came back abnormal and they realized I had scoliosis," Blythe said. "If it wasn't for them figuring out those tidbits, I might not have known I had dysautonomia and I might not have received the proper treatment."

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