Trenton Health Team Awarded Five-Year $300,000 Grant by Princeton Area Community Foundation to Combat Absenteeism in Trenton Schools

Nov 19, 2018 | News

Trenton Health Team (THT) was awarded a five-year $300,000 grant as part of the All Kids Thrive initiative of the Princeton Area Community Foundation.

THT will partner with Trenton Public Schools to match school absentee records with electronic medical records in the Trenton Health Information Exchange (HIE) to identify overlaps between school absenteeism and health conditions. By analyzing this data, THT will identify specific students and families where health may be a barrier to regular school attendance, and then, after obtaining consent from families to participate, will work with school personnel and partner organizations to provide appropriate interventions.

“Our school nurses are hard at work every day caring for the students in our district,” said Micah Freeman, Supervisor of Nursing at Trenton Public Schools, “We look forward to collaborating with Trenton Health Team to achieve better health and educational outcomes for our children.” 

It is widely known that poor home conditions can contribute to illnesses such as asthma, which is a frequent cause for school absence in Trenton. For chronically absent students with asthma, THT will partner with Isles, Inc. to address problems like dust, mold, and lead contamination in homes.

“Our Healthy Homes service is designed to identify asthma triggers, lead and other indoor conditions that negatively affect the health of Trenton families,” said Peter Rose, Managing Director of Community Enterprises at Isles, Inc. “Through our partnership with Trenton Health Team, we will assess the homes of children with high absenteeism, educate families about how to keep homes more safe and healthy and also bring resources to address any costly underlying issues, such as mold and moisture from roof leaks, or lead-based paint repairs.”

“Linking healthcare data with school data shows the power of cross-sector collaboration and of the sophisticated health data systems we have built here in Trenton,” said Gregory Paulson, Executive Director of Trenton Health Team. “It is our hope that we can identify health issues among Trenton youth and connect them with the care and services they need.”

Trenton Health Team will begin by focusing on absenteeism cases at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and Luis Munoz Rivera Community Middle school, then scale up to include additional Trenton schools.

All Kids Thrive is the Community Foundation’s bold new initiative to transform the lives of young people living in poverty, which is among the risk factors for chronic absenteeism. The Community Foundation has awarded 5-year, $300,000 grants to ten school and nonprofit partnerships in the Mercer County region. By making a long-term commitment, the Community Foundation aims to reduce administrative burdens and allow those partnerships to focus on impact.