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"LEADER" Online: Vol. 9, No. 1

A conversation with...

Michelle Browning-Coughlin, MSW
Clark Memorial Hospital
Jeffersonville, Indiana


Many hospitals reach out to their community by offering parenting education programs. In this edition of LEADER, Michelle shares her views.

What led to the decision to offer parenting education at Clark Memorial Hospital?

The president and CEO of our hospital, Timothy Jarm, felt that we had an opportunity as a hospital to connect with families the day a child is born. He and the director of our Community Outreach program, Sue Phillips, recruited me to come and work with our families. The hope was that by reaching out to parents of infants and very young children, we could give parents the tools, skills and resources needed to prevent children from developing the behaviors and attitudes that lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices.

It takes an entire community of adults to raise successful children. We call our program Building Healthy Futures and invite parents, grandparents, childcare providers and any other adult who is involved in caring for children. Our "parenting classes" are called Child Development Sessions to emphasize that it is important for everyone in the community to understand and support the development of children.

Who was instrumental in the decision process?

Mr. Jarm and Ms. Phillips were vital in getting me on board at the hospital. From there, many different areas of the hospital, including our Family Birth Place, Public Relations and Marketing Department, and the Clark Memorial Hospital Foundation were integral to the development of our Building Healthy Futures Program.

How do you fund the program?

Building Healthy Futures is funded through the Clark Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Why did you select Active Parenting?

I have been a fan of Active Parenting Publishers and their programs and resources for several years. I selected 1,2,3,4 Parents! because it fits our primary mission of reaching out to parents, grandparents and other caregivers of young children. I think the program covers the most essential components of caring for young children, including age-appropriate expectations, self-care for caregivers, positive (non-violent) discipline, self-esteem and communication. It also presents this information in a way that makes it easy to accommodate different learning styles, including the use of video, workbooks and group interaction.

Finally, I like that the information is presented at a literacy level that is not overwhelming for those participants who may have more challenges with reading.


Reprinted from Leader magazine.
Copyright 2003 by Active Parenting Publishers, Inc.