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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 the funds we raise support the FSU College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Programs. These programs are identified on an annual basis and serve children and families in our community.

The principal focus of the College of Medicine is on meeting the primary-care needs of the state of Florida, with a particular emphasis on the rural, the minority, the 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 2024-2025 Beneficiaries

Funds granted to the FSU College of Medicine will be used in 2024 to support the following pediatric-focused organizations and initiatives.

Big Bend Hospice

The Big Bend Hospital Bereavement Program addresses the significant need our community faces by providing bereaved youth with individual and group-based grief counseling and community grief education in Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor & Wakulla counties. The program creates meaningful opportunities for youth to grieve in ways that are healthy, safe, and supported. In 2023, Big Bend Hospice served 90 children (free of charge) though individual grief counseling, grief support groups, and Camp Woe Be Gone because of funds raised through DM at FSU.

Bond Community Health Center

Funds will be used for repairs and upgrades to the Bond Community Health Center mobile health unit, which was outfitted with a dental operatory in 2019 with previous support from DM at FSU through the FSU College of Medicine. The funding was instrumental in Bond’s success in caring for pediatric dental patients in non-traditional settings. Upgrades will increase the proportion of children and adolescents who receive dental care and replacement of outdated diagnostic equipment in its pediatric department will provide early diagnosis of hearing, vision, or cardiac disorders and to identify lead exposure in at risk children. More than 13,000 children have been positively impacted by Bond Community Health Center because of funding from DM at FSU.

CPEIP/Gadsden County Early Head Start

Funding will provide early childhood education, family support services, and health family functioning, and address physical health, oral health, nutrition, safety, and mental health. Funding will also help provide services in navigating the health systems of care. In 2023, 80 children benefited from the critical services provided because of funds raised by DM at FSU.

FSU PrimaryHealth™

FSU PrimaryHealth will be able to provide primary and behavioral health care services to children to include health exams, immunizations, school and sports physicals, and urgent and ongoing care as well as screenings and other preventative services to school-aged children. Funding will support health care professionals, and pediatric clinical equipment and supplies. The population of SW Tallahassee that surrounds FSU PrimaryHealth is low-income (per capita income is <50% of that of the rest of Tallahassee) and mostly minority (about 70% African American or Latino, compared to about 38% for the rest of Tallahassee). FSU PrimaryHealth is located across the street from a Title I elementary school where 100% of the children qualify for a free lunch. The needs in this area are great and are likely to remain so for years to come. The funding from DM at FSU helps to offset the vast amount of uncompensated care that is being provided to these children.

Gadsden School-Based Health Clinic

The Gadsden School-Based Health Clinic will be able to continue its collaborative partnerships impacting and improving access to health care. The school clinic functions as a safety net for the most under-resourced children, and for some, is their sole source of medical care. Funds will help provide primary care to children of Gadsden County with full-service clinics at multiple schools in the county. Improved access to primary and mental health care services of the underserved, as well as increased health education through preventative services, chronic disease management, and behavioral health assessments will better support the pediatric patients of our community. In 2023, more than 1,800 children living in Gadsden County benefited from these services.

Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy - FSU

The FSU Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy provides patient and family centered developmental clinical services to reduce hyper-responsiveness and agitation, increase feeding effectiveness, and increase duration of sleep. Funding will support Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal services and other NICU services including positioning, transitioning, care for women to stall premature birth, and community outreach with music. In 2023, approximately 1,650 infants benefited from these services, in addition to the students from Florida State University’s music therapy program that received hands-on-training in music therapy in the NICU setting who will graduate and be hired by hospitals throughout the U.S. as specialists in NICU-MT care for premature infants.

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Foundation

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Foundation will utilize funds to support equipment and capacity expansion in providing women and children’s patient services to North Florida and South Georgia areas to positively impact the Maternal, Infant, Child Health and Mental Health services affecting community health. New equipment will improve health outcomes and efficiency in treating patients.

Hang Tough Foundation

The Hang Tough Foundation will use funds to provide resources and encouragement to families during their journey with childhood illnesses and special needs. Funds will also support the Teen Hangout Program which provides an opportunity for teens to create a community environment and includes social activities, life skills, and workforce development education. Funding will also provide activities and materials to support caregivers.

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