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Alumni Spotlight

MD Alum works to improve the health of families

Kiran Bhat, MD ‘95, is a pediatrician who has made a big change in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The 1995 College of Medicine alumnus helped create a collaborative program called HEALTHY Armstrong. The mission is to improve the health of families and help children maintain a healthy weight.

The program was created in 2004 after Pennsylvania mandated that all school districts measure the body mass index (BMI) of students and develop a wellness policy. At one elementary school with 260 children, a pilot program was implemented to learn what obstacles needed to be overcome and what would be successful for the entire school district. In-school and after-school activities, such as walking during lunch, monthly newsletters to parents, a Fitness Calendar for home use, wellness tips, pedometers, and a fitness club, were carried out by teachers at the school. Following success of the pilot, similar programs were started in all the elementary buildings in Armstrong School District. Today, each school has a Wellness Committee and a Facilitator.

Over the past ten years, Dr. Bhat has seen an entire community change. The change is his constant inspiration. “A mother came up to me at the store,” Dr. Bhat says, “and told me her daughter made her buy strawberries. That’s why I continue to do this.”

Dr. Bhat, who completed his residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, will be featured as our spring Mo Mullet Forum speaker on February 23, presenting on HEALTHY Armstrong. Details will be posted on our website in the upcoming months. For more information about HEALTHY Armstrong visit: http://healthyarmstrong.com