Center for the Child & Community

To empower communities to value and support the health, safety, and wellbeing of every child

Every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential

One of the pillars of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s mission is advocacy. The Center for the Child & Community was created to fulfill this mission. The mission of the Center is to empower and support the health, safety, and wellbeing of every child. This ties directly to Children’s overall mission to improve the life of every child — through dedication to exceptional clinical care, research, education, and advocacy.


New Research Project With Harvard Center For The Developing Child – Read more

Our Approach

We engage the community through partnerships with stakeholders, as well as strategic planning and collaborative implementation of community health priorities. We believe in engaging the community to ensure the work is reflective of the community’s needs – and not just what we think they need.

Our Team

Children’s Center for the Child and Community staff work with community leaders, early childhood educators, childcare providers, school systems, health systems, and community partners to help every child reach their full potential. This dedicated team includes:

Megan Connelly, DNP, APRN-NP, CPNP-AC/PC, NE-BC Vice President of Community Pediatrics & Child Health

Debra Tomek, M.D., FAAP, Associate Medical Director, Community Partnerships

Jeanee Weiss, MBA, MS, Community Health Strategy Leader

Holly Dingman, MS, RD, Director

Rick Helweg, Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Hulse, MS, Community Program Coordinator

Kim McClintick, RN, School Health Nurse Coordinator

Jewel Schifferns, MSW, PLMHP, School Social Work Coordinator

Chrissy Tonkinson, MPH, Data and Evaluation Project Manager

Melissa Walker, MS, Operations Specialist

Our Priorities

Empower communities to value and support the health, safety and wellbeing of every child, so that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential
GROW CHILDREN’S CENTER Strengthen the operational infrastructure of the Center by engaging hospital leadership and community partners in the Center strategic priorities. CLINIC-TO-COMMUNITY Expand clinic-to-community initiatives with a focus on asthma prevention, pediatric vision health and communication efforts via Children’s Connect portal. Foster bi-directional learning with Project ECHO.
OBESITY PREVENTION Continue to elevate partnerships critical to obesity prevention strategies and use data to describe the impact of these cross-sector/cross-strategy initiatives, including the Preventing Childhood Obesity Community Grant Program and the Double Up Food Bucks program. EARLY CHILDHOOD Implement and sustain early childhood health initiatives statewide, with a focus on piloting Help Me Grow in Lincoln-Lancaster. Improve early childhood education settings with Go NAP SACC trainings and technical assistance for child care homes and centers across Nebraska.
SCHOOL HEALTH Increase training and education provided to schools across the state with an emphasis on chronic condition management and school-to-community linkages. Promote in-class physical activity and mindfulness breaks statewide with GoNoodle and connect school nurses through the Nebraska School Nurse Mentor Program. COMMUNITY BENEFIT Convene internal leaders around the 2019-2021 Implementation Strategy Plan to address the four identified priority health needs: Access to Care, Mental/Behavioral Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity and Sexual Health.
ADVOCACY Create and support Child Health Champion Network DATA Conduct community health needs assessment and develop infrastructure for data-integration.

Learn more about Programs & Initiatives

Our Location

Nebraska Innovation Campus
2021 Transformation Drive, Suite 1200
Lincoln, NE 68508
(402) 955-6871


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