Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Michener, Mary


Low income status has been proven to have negative effects on overall health, such as increased prevalence of chronic diseases and poor childhood development (Gupta, de Wit, & McKeown, 2007). Children living in communities of this status often do not have access to healthy foods or exercise facilities in comparison to middle and upper class children (Gupta, de Wit, & McKeown, 2007). Enhancement of education on these topics has the ability to combat the risk for poor health outcomes. A health and wellness program called SMILE was created and implemented at a child care center, called Carol Mathey’s Center for Children and Families in Oakdale, Minnesota. The child care center is mainly composed of low-income families and a diverse student population (S. Penn, personal communication, October 21 2020). The program contained three main components: physical health, nutrition and mental health. Educational, high energy, and interactive activities were used as the main methods during a half day program. The program also included a take-home component, facilitating continued discussion on these important topics within the child’s household. Successes of the program included student engagement, age-appropriateness of materials created, and continued use of the techniques taught. The activity materials created for the physical health, nutrition and mental health components of SMILE were donated to the child care center with an instruction manual to be used in the future.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons