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College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Programs

College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Programs

Dance Marathon at FSU is proud to support our local Tallahassee Community. In addition to supporting our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, 50% of our efforts are to support the FSU College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Programs. These programs include helping the school-based programs in Gadsden County, research, and more.


The principal focus of the College of Medicine is on meeting the primary-care needs of Florida's primary-care needs, with a particular emphasis on rural, minority, elderly, and other underserved populations.


Before this medical school was established in 2000, most experts thought the U.S. had too many medical schools and physicians. Research done in connection with our founding, however, began a monumental shift in that thinking. It turned out that U.S. physicians were plentiful but distributed ineffectively, especially for rural patients, and were rapidly approaching retirement age. The first FSU College of Medicine class graduated in 2005. Since then, more than half of our alumni have matched in the primary-care specialties of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics-gynecology.


The larger goal is to serve the underserved. In that sense, producing a surgeon will serve in rural Florida is at least as valuable as producing another family physician will serve in Orlando. We strive to fulfill Florida’s need for better medical care for all of its residents.


The College of Medicine has been working with Gadsden’s health department and school district to expand its services in student health centers at James A. Shanks Middle School and George W. Munroe Elementary School. Medical school faculty, FSU medical students, and psychology graduate students work part-time, thanks in large part to the donations raised by Dance Marathon.

Our 2020-2021 Beneficiaries

FSU Center for Prevention & Early Intervention

Young Parent Project

The FSU Young Parents Project is a home visiting program in Leon and surrounding rural counties that serves court-involved, pregnant/parenting teens and their children. The project’s experience to date has demonstrated that these young mothers lack support and often enter the project without a medical home, pre-natal care, or basic necessities that promote health and safety.   The project uses a team of professionals (Registered Nurse, Social Worker and Infant Mental Health Specialist) to address the overall physical and mental health needs of each family, as well as enhance the mother/baby relationship, the crux of the program’s model. The goal of the Young Parents Project is to improve the health and well-being of the young mother and child in order to break the intergenerational cycle of teen parenting, trauma, and recidivism in the juvenile justice system. Funding by the College of Medicine is essential to supporting the Nurse’s outreach and services, as well the purchase of supplies that are essential to combating pediatric illness and injury (cribs for safe sleep, car seats, baby gates, first aid kits, baby baths, bottles, diapers, wipes, sanitary pads, and so on).

FSU Early Head Start

FSU Early Head Start is a federally funded community-based program serving families with at-risk infants and toddlers and expectant women in Gadsden County. The mission of the program is to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhance the development of very young children, and promote healthy family functioning. Home Visitors work with families every week on early childhood educational activities, complete developmental assessments, and  bring research-based information on health and safety topics. The program also provides health care coordination for enrolled pregnant women and children and helps families overcome barriers to accessing health care for their children. The program supports the development of parents’ health consumer and advocacy skills to produce long lasting healthy habits for the whole family well beyond the few years of participation in Early Head Start. Hearing, vision, and developmental screenings are provided to children in the program as well as to the public at periodic community outreach events. Funds from the FSU Dance Marathon have purchased our state of the art pediatric vision screener and the supplies and maintenance for our high-tech portable hearing screener. Dance Marathon also makes it possible for our program to provide community early childhood screenings in Gadsden County and assist enrolled families with care coordination and transportation to medical and dental appointments.

Gadsden County School Clinics

The College of Medicine has been working with the Gadsden County school-based clinics since 2006. The partnership includes the Florida Department of Health for Gadsden County and the Gadsden County School Board. The program is funded by the FSU Dance Marathon and supports one full-time nurse practitioner and one part-time nurse practitioner. In addition, FSU College of Medicine faculty, medical students and FSU doctoral psychology students provide care and counseling services at George W. Munroe Elementary School, James A. Shanks Middle School and Stewart Street Elementary School. This outreach program aligns with the mission of the College of Medicine by providing care for underserved populations. The Florida State University students are afforded the opportunity to obtain valuable experience while working with multidisciplinary teams in a rural setting.

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is the primary hospital for newborns and children within a 125-mile radius surrounding Tallahassee. In just the last year alone, due to this fact, TMH was responsible for serving 900 children in their Children’s Center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), over 500 neonates in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and 3700 Newborns. Of these, almost all 900 children, 500 neonates, and 50 newborns have been impacted by some sort of equipment upgrade allowed due to Dance Marathon Funding.

Last year alone, TMH was able to purchase a variety of lifesaving medical equipment. Through funding, they were able to purchase a mobile newborn emergency care station in L&D for NICU providers and nurses. In addition to this, TMH has been able to fund several other projects through Dance Marathon donations. In order to meet new national guidelines, an in-hospital sick newborn transport incubator was purchased. This allows the transfer of sick newborns from the delivery to the NICU, Cardiology testing, x-ray testing, and MRI testing. Oxygen blenders were purchase in order to provide the same standard of care in the newborn nursery area should a baby become sick and need stabilization before being transferred to NICU. Nara Bassinets were purchased to provide safe care for newborns who are readmitted to the Children’s Unit. An Accu Vein Transilluminator was purchased to assist healthcare personnel with performing venipuncture. A training defibrillator was purchased to assist with emergency code training. A Pediatric Standing Scale was purchased to update the system for weighing children. 4 newborn emergency mobile stations were purchased.

Big Bend Hospice

Big Bend Hospice is an organization that focuses on positively impacting the way a community experiences serious illness or grief. Specifically, The Big Bend Hospice Bereavement Department focuses on supporting anyone in the community that is affected by the death of a loved one. They are able to reach this goal in a variety of ways; individual counseling, group counseling, remembrance events, crisis support, education, and consultation.

In regards to Dance Marathon, a majority of the funds received go towards a subset of the Bereavement Department. This subset, the Youth Bereavement Services division, uses funds to support monthly children and teen nights at Big Bend Hospice, school-based grief support groups in Leon and surrounding counties, crisis support to local schools or agencies in the event of sudden loss, educational material to give to other adults learning about and supporting grieving young people, and attendance for staff at an annual National Symposium on Children’s Grief. In addition, some of the funds also go to support Survivors of Suicide, a monthly group meeting, and Lighting the Darkness, an annual event that supports those who have lost loved ones to suicide. Camp Woe-BE-Gone and Teen Woe-Be-Gone are also two camps that are funded through Dance Marathon Contributions. These camps are annual grief retreats held for children and teens that have experienced the death of a loved one.

Bond Community Health Center

The Bond Community Health Center’s main goal is to improve the quality of life within the community. Bond provides a patient-centered approach to quality primary and preventive healthcare services for residents of Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Franklin, Liberty and Madison counties. Support services ranging from eligibility assistance and transportation, to helping people learn ways to eat healthier and live a longer life are available. Providing access to the highest quality comprehensive family health services with particular concern for the lower socioeconomic groups, regardless of their ability to pay is our mission.

Dance Marathon helps this center provide access to health care. Getting time off from work is an ongoing barrier for parents/guardians and that matter is amplified for families that land on the low- income spectrum. The mobile unit, which is like a doctor’s office on wheels, is one of the tools used to provide access to care. The support received from the Dance Marathon helps us get into areas of town with access barriers and provide service.

Infant and Child Medical Musical Therapy FSU

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), in partnership with Florida State University’s College of Music, houses the region’s most comprehensive Medical Music Therapy program. TMH Music Therapy is designed to address a wide array of patient needs, along with serving as a national training site for future Music Therapists. Beginning in 2017, funds from FSU’s Dance Marathon have aided in developing one of the nation’s first full time NICU Music Therapy programs. This program includes one full time NICU Music Therapist providing all in-patient services, and one quarter time Music Therapist providing in-home follow-up services post NICU discharge. The funds have also served to support the supply of equipment and materials necessary to implement quality services, along with training and research opportunities. Music Therapy in the NICU can help to decrease stress behaviors, increase weight gain, decrease length of hospitalization, among a number of additional benefits. More than one hundred infants and families are impacted by this program each year. To learn more about this world-renowned Medical Music Therapy program, please visit:

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