Community Advocacy

The health of a child is impacted by more than just the medical care they receive: it’s impacted by the community they live, learn, and play in. Our goal is to create communities that are safe and healthy, and empower families to thrive.

Fast Facts

Which Factors Determine Our Health?

  • 80% social factors, such as education, income, community safety, home environments, and health behaviors
  • 20% clinical care, such as access to medical care, and quality of care

What Can You Do?

Learn about Children’s Center for the Child & Community. The mission of the Center is to empower and support the health, safety, and wellbeing of every child.

About the Center for the Child & Community

Join the Child Health Champion Network

Community Health Needs Assessment & Implementation

We strive to understand the health needs of our community through a collaborative community health needs assessment, prioritization and implementation process.

Since 2012, Children’s has conducted a Pediatric Community Health Needs Assessment (P-CHNA) with key stakeholders to determine the community’s child health priorities. The assessment is completed every three years and involves local public health departments, other health systems and hospitals, youth-focused community organizations, and parents.

The assessment involves community-wide surveys of parents, as well as a stakeholder survey. Based on the 2018 assessment, Children’s identified four child health priority areas to address within the 2019-2021 Implementation Strategy Plan:

  • Access to healthcare services
  • Mental/behavioral health
  • Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity
  • Sexual health

Other significant health issues not identified as priorities within the Implementation Strategy Plan:

  • Cognitive and behavioral conditions
  • Childhood diabetes
  • Injury and violence
  • Neurological conditions
  • Oral health
  • Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • Vision, hearing and speech conditions

To learn more about how Children’s is involved in community-wide initiatives that address child health issues, check out the Community Benefit Reports and Programs & Initiatives below.

For more information, contact us at

Programs & Initiatives

Children’s supports and implements several programs and initiatives to meet our goal of creating communities that are safe and healthy, and empower families to thrive.

  • Community Breastfeeding Initiative

    Children’s Center for the Child & Community partners with the Nebraska Breastfeeding Coalition to strengthen community breastfeeding support networks by engaging stakeholders, providing training and connecting local and state breastfeeding advocates

    Learn more

    For more information, contact Holly Dingman at

  • Double Up Food Bucks

    To address healthy food access issues Nebraska communities are facing, Children’s Center for the Child & Community is partnering with UNL Extension to support the Nebraska Double Up Food Bucks Program. SNAP recipients can earn Double Up Food Bucks, in the form of $2 coupons, when they purchase fresh produce at participating grocery stores and farmers markets.

    >–Learn more Double Up Food Bucks Win Win Win For Nebraska – May June 2018 (PDF)

    Learn more

    For more information, contact Holly Dingman at

  • Early Childhood MAPP Initiative

    Children’s Center for the Child & Community is engaged with many community partners to lead the Early Childhood Comprehensive Health Working Group for Prosper Lincoln. The work group is comprised of healthcare delivery partners, child care providers, families, and public health experts to focus on children’s health, wellness, development, and family support.

    The working group is using the Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships (MAPP) process to identify, prioritize, and plan for successful early childhood interventions that improve the health and well-being of children 0 to 8 years old.

    >–Learn more about the Vision Statement (PDF)
    >–Learn more about the Lancaster Early Childhood Health Status Report (PDF)
    >–Learn more about the Early Childhood Health Needs Assessment Results (PDF)

    For more information, contact Rick Helweg at

  • ENERGY Playbook

    Children’s Center for the Child & Community is leading the development of a group fitness class curriculum, ENERGY Fitness, with the YMCA of Lincoln. ENERGY Fitness classes aim to empower overweight children ages 6 to 12 to move and get stronger in a safe, comfortable environment with trained group fitness instructors. Children’s is piloting this program with the YMCA of Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, and the Nebraska Medical Association. Local primary care providers can refer patients to ENERGY Fitness classes with an ENERGY Fitness Rx.

    Learn more

    For more information, contact Holly Dingman at

  • GoNoodle

    GoNoodle Powered by Kohl’s and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is a program to help combat childhood obesity using online videos and games to bring movement and mindfulness to elementary-school age children.

    With a grant awarded by Kohl’s, Children’s has expanded GoNoodle into 76 Lancaster County elementary schools during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. The program will have the opportunity to empower 25,401 students to become healthier and more active.

    To support GoNoodle, you can purchase a $5 Kohl’s Cares® book or plush toy at any Kohl’s location in metro Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. With this program, 100% of the net profits supports children’s health and educational opportunities.

    For more information, contact Celia Ferrel at or Holly Dingman at

  • Injury Prevention

    Injury prevention is an initiative of the Emergency Medicine team at Children’s. The program helps inform parents, educators, and child safety advocates about injury prevention.

    We provide many services, including:

    • Teaching families about child safety, injury risks, and prevention.
    • Evaluating solutions for injury risks.
    • Developing effective means to increase safety practices in our community.
    • Providing child safety seats, helmets, and injury prevention education.
    • Providing safety information about various childhood activities, such as biking, swimming, and playing on a playground.

    For more information, visit our Injury Prevention page or contact Travis Hedlund at

  • Nebraska Healthy Kids Summit

    Connecting stakeholders to explore research, practice and advocacy approaches, leading to a joint call to action promoting healthy eating and active living for children and families in Nebraska communities.

    April 23 & 24, 2019
    Nebraska Innovation Campus
    Conference Center
    2021 Transformation Drive
    Lincoln, NE

    Learn More

  • Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (Go NAP SACC)

    Children’s Center for the Child & Community helps coordinate the Go NAP SACC initiative. Go NAP SACC is a trusted process that helps childcare centers and homes go the extra mile to support children’s healthy eating and physical activity.

    Children’s collaborates with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Department of Education, University of Nebraska-Extension, and many local partners to coordinate and support the statewide collaborative model.

    >–Learn more Go NAP SACC Brochure

    For more information, contact Emily Hulse at

  • Parenting U

    Raising children to be safe and healthy is a big job, and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is here to provide a helping hand. Children’s Parenting U program connects you with experts on hot topics in pediatric healthcare.

    Register or sign-up to receive announcements about upcoming Parenting U Classes.

    Parenting U Sign-Up

  • Preventing Childhood Obesity (PCO) Community Grants & Learning Collaborative

    Childhood obesity is a national health crisis and the main chronic disease children in our community face. We use a community approach to help prevent and treat obesity in children. Children’s Center for the Child & Community manages the grants with community organizations and partners with Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to facilitate the Learning Collaborative.

    Since 2013, Children’s has awarded more than $1 million in grants to non-profit organizations in the area to implement programs that support nutrition and physical activity. Over the past four years, the grants have reached more than 52,000 children and adolescents, and provided support to 18 community organizations.

    For more information, contact Rick Helweg at

  • Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)

    Children’s Center for Child & Community, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics- Nebraska Chapter (AAP-NE), was designated as a Project ECHO replication site in 2017. Project ECHO is a tele-mentoring model that improves capacity and access to specialty care by linking expert specialist teams with primary care providers through teleECHO™ clinics.

    Using teleECHO™ clinics, Children’s convenes experts to review cases in real-time, online learning sessions with regional primary care clinics to help community providers manage difficult patient cases and share their expertise via guidance, feedback, and education on a variety of child health topics. For more information, visit

  • Safe Kids Douglas County

    Safe Kids Douglas County is an initiative of the Emergency Medicine team at Children’s. This initiative is a collaboration of community organizations whose goal is to keep children safe from preventable injuries.

    In addition to Children’s, members of the collaboration include:

    • The Child Passenger Safety Task Force, which conducts car seat checkup events and provides education on car seat safety.
    • The Water Safety Task Force, which provides drowning prevention education to children and parents in the community.
    • The Pedestrian/Bike Safety Task Force, which conducts bike helmet fittings and provides free bike helmets to children. They also provide education about pedestrian and bike safety.
    • The Home Safety Task Force, which provides education on home safety issues such as poisoning, burns, falls, fires, and choking.

    For more information, visit our Injury Prevention page or contact Travis Hedlund at

  • School Health & Wellness Initiative

    Children’s Center for the Child & Community is partnering with the Nebraska Department of Education to implement a five year School Health & Wellness Grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The goal of the grant is to improve student health and academic achievement through nutrition, physical activity and the management of chronic conditions in schools.

    >–Read the School Health & Wellness Grant News Release

    For more information, contact Kim McClintick at

  • Vision Initiative

    Children’s Vision Initiative has 3 components: 1) School Vision Screening 2) the Visionmobile and 3) Child Vision Collaborative

    1. Children’s Visionmobile is the first community mobile unit designed to overcome barriers to pediatric eye care, such as transportation and ease of appointment. With parental consent, children who have failed the school vision screening can obtain a comprehensive eye exam at the school. If the doctor prescribes eyeglasses, eyeglasses will be ordered and fitted at school. This project is a collaboration with Omaha Public Schools (OPS). The Visionmobile team targets schools with greater than 75% free and reduced lunch rates.

    For more information about the Visionmobile program, contact Candice Iberg, Visionmobile Coordinator,

    2. School Vision Screening program provides targeted OPS schools mass vision screening of children. This collaborative effort involves the OPS student health division coordinating with Vision Screening coordinator and five local colleges of nursing who carry out the screening.

    3. Child Vision Collaboration involves nearly 2 dozen multidisciplinary community eye care advocates who provide input and guidance concerning gaps and opportunities in improving child vision health.

    For more information about the School Vision screening or the Child Vision Collaborative, contact Leslie Turner, Vision Screening Coordinator,

Back To Top