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School of Nursing and Health Studies Wins Federal Recognition for Promoting Youth Sports

When the federal government announced its National Youth Sports Strategy Champion effort a year ago, it struck a chord with Joey Lightner, assistant professor at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The federal effort, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is part of a strategy to increase youth sports participation and measure its many benefits.

“One focus of our public health research is to encourage physical activity for young people, especially at middle school age,” said Lightner, Ph.D., director of the school’s Bachelor of Public Health degree program. So when he heard of the federal effort, the school applied and was among the first organizations to receive the designation, in a ceremony Thursday morning.

A prime example of what the School of Nursing and Health Studies has done to increase youth physical activity is its participation in the YES Initiative, which stands for Youth Engagement in Sports, a Collaboration to Improve Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition. The program is funded by an $800,000 federal grant and directed by Lightner and Amanda Grimes, Ph.D., assistant professor. The program involves undergraduate researchers at the school and collaborates with the Kansas City, Missouri, School District and partners with Children’s Mercy Hospital, Truman Medical Centers, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and Youth Ambassadors.


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UMKC Nursing and Health Studies: CCNE Accredited for Another Decade