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Perdue Farms partners with Maryland hospital and schools to improve children's health literacy

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The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, presents a $40,000 grant to Atlantic General Hospital to help further efforts to develop and implement health literacy curriculum in Worcester County public schools. From left are Michael Franklin, CEO of Atlantic General Hospital; Todd Ferrante, vice chair of the AGH Foundation; Michelle Fager, chair of the Major Gifts Committee of the AGH Foundation; Dawn Denton, community education manager at Atlantic General Hospital; and Bill Hetherington, executive director of the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation.

Salisbury, Md. (Tuesday, June 25, 2013) – Atlantic General Hospital on Maryland's Eastern Shore is the recipient of a $40,000 grant from Perdue Farms through funding provided by the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation to further its efforts to improve the health literacy of Worcester County’s youth. The Foundation is the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms.

Representatives from the hospital in Berlin, Md., the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation and the Worcester County Board of Education came together to recognize the contribution and celebrate the efforts that are currently under way to integrate common health and health care principles into the core curriculum for grades K-8.

“Improving the health literacy of the next generation is critical to the adoption of healthier lifestyles and proper utilization of healthcare services,” said Michael Franklin, CEO of Atlantic General Hospital. “Individuals have to understand basic health principles before they can become active and effective partners in their own care. We’re very pleased with the plan that has been put in place for the Worcester County Public Schools.”

Obesity has been a burgeoning problem nationally since the 1980s, reaching epidemic levels in the early 2000s, according to the CDC; the incidence of chronic disease and the cost of healthcare have followed suit. As a result, hospitals have renewed their focus on education and preventive health services.

Under this plan, Atlantic General Hospital has developed a partnership with the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health to draft a set of health literacy standards for the K-8 public school curriculum. No such standards for public schools currently exist in the U.S.

“The hospital is incredibly grateful to the Perdue Foundation for supporting this exciting project. We have the opportunity to instill basic understanding and appreciation for health and wellness – and what medical care can and cannot do for you – in people at a very early age,” said Laura Deeley Bren, chair of the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation. “We will be providing them an invaluable foundation for future health.”

Once the standards are complete, the hospital’s community education department will work with the University of Maryland and the Worcester County Board of Education to develop the specific lessons and resources to apply these standards in the classroom on target for the 2014-2015 school year.

The integration of health literacy principles will vary depending on grade level. Such lessons might include having students calculate their calorie intake based upon information on a food label or the proper medication dosage depending on their weight during a math lesson. For kindergarten, principles may be as simple has a hand washing exercise.

In the interim, the partners plan to extend ad hoc health literacy lessons introduced to the county’s afterschool programs this past year to K-8 class instruction beginning in the fall.

“At Perdue, we salute the commitment of these health care and education partners in their efforts to enhance the health and quality of life for children in Worcester County. This curriculum will engage children in their formative years and provide valuable lessons for creating a foundation for healthy living,” said Bill Hetherington, executive director of the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. “We’re proud to invest in their future through this funding from the Foundation.”

About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993.  Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as general ophthalmic and retina surgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region.  For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.

About Perdue Farms
Perdue Farms is the parent company of Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, and represents the Perdue family ownership.  Since our beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, through expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the Perdue brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, to our third-generation of family leadership with chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained a family-owned, family-operated business dedicated to making Perdue the most trusted name in food and agricultural products.  To learn more about Perdue, visit www.perdue.com.

About the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation
The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, was established in 1957 by company founder Arthur W. Perdue and is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. As part of our belief in supporting the communities where and with whom we do business, the Foundation provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of our associates live and work.  At Perdue Farms, we believe in responsible food and agriculture.


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