Highmark Foundation Honors Kanawha County Nurse for Vital Role in Student Health

July 08, 2015

Janet Allio
Janet Allio (second from right) receives the 2015 Excellence in School Nursing Award

Charleston, WV - At its monthly meeting today in Charleston, the West Virginia Board of Education honored a Kanawha County school nurse of over 19 years for receiving the first ever 2015 Excellence in School Nursing Award. The Highmark Foundation recognized Janet Allio, BSN, RN as one of three nurses from each of the regions served by the foundation - western Pennsylvania, central Pennsylvania and West Virginia, for her exemplary school nursing skills and high practice standards. Winners will receive $1,500 to use for professional development or school programs as well a custom-made award by Roland Metal Art in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Allio is currently the school nurse for about 500 students in Kanawha County’s Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and 300 students from Piedmont Elementary. Many of the students with whom she works reside in crime ridden parts of the community where they witness violent and scary events on a regular basis. Allio partnered with the Charleston Police to develop and implement the Handle With Care Program in which the police notify the school when a student has witnessed a traumatic event during the previous evening so the schools can “handle that student with care.”

As a result of the success with the Handle With Care Program, Allio is now working with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District to expand this program to other state and national school systems. According to United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, “Ms. Allio’s leadership, expertise and compassion have substantially contributed to the program.”

Recognizing the need for additional mental health services for some of her students, Allio collaborated with a mental health agency and FamilyCare Primary Care Centers to provide school based services for students and their families in need of assistance. She is a member of the Kanawha Dental Health Council Board of Directors and works closely with school based dental clinics. In addition, Allio represents West Virginia school nurses on the West Virginia Asthma Coalition and previously served as co-chairperson for the Pediatrics and Schools Committee of that coalition.

"School nurses do more than just tend to scraped knees and upset stomachs," said board president Gayle Manchin. "They play an integral role in keeping our children healthy. We are proud to be able to honor Nurse Allio for her commitment and efforts in improving the health care of the students in her schools.”

Allio received the recognition of the 2015 School Nurse of the Year during the West Virginia Association of School Nurses Fall Conference at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The foundation's mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark Inc. The foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models.

For more information contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communication at 304.558.2699 or visit www.highmarkfoundation.org.

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