How Virginia is implementing Bright Futures

Training: Since 2001, when Virginia adopted Bright Futures as the standard of pediatric care, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has engaged in a number of activities to ensure that the recommendations are implemented throughout the state. Beginning in the early 2000s, VDH provided training on the Bright Futures Guidelines to health care providers, nutritionists, dentists, home visitors, and school nurses. In 2005, VDH worked with Virginia Commonwealth University to create 6 Web-based education modules focused on Bright Futures that provided continuing medical education credits to health care providers.

Raising awareness: VDH revamped its online Bright Futures materials in 2009 with the release of the Healthy Futures VA Web site, created in partnership with James Madison University and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Healthy Futures VA project takes Bright Futures information that was originally designed for pediatric care providers and repackages it for parents and caregivers. The heart of the site is a collection of 3- to 5-minute videos that explore Bright Futures medical home concepts using characters like parents, grandparents, physicians, and public responders. These videos are a direct response to a 2007 series of family focus groups held by VDH, in which parents suggested the idea of short, family-friendly videos that explore the medical home model of care. The videos are paired with short written summaries that include Virginia-specific information and resources. Healthy Futures VA has proved a valuable resource, with approximately 434,000 visits to the Web site in 2011.

Partnerships: VDH has engaged in integrating Bright Futures throughout the state's school health care provider population to include public and private school nurses and school health personnel. Several articles highlighting the Healthy Futures VA Web site and Bright Futures content were written for inclusion in the VDH School Age Health Newsletters. Bright Futures texts and pocket guides were distributed to every public school division (132) and to every local health district (35) in the state. In addition, VDH, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Va. AAP), hosted a 1-day school health conference for the Virginia school nurse coordinators and Va. VA AAP members that included a Bright Futures session.

VDH has also worked with other state agencies and stakeholder groups to implement Bright Futures recommendations. For instance, the department has used Bright Futures as the basis for the child care health consultant annual trainings and distributed the Bright Futures pocket guide to Head Start coordinators at state health advisory meetings. Child health professionals like the Child Day-Care Council, child care directors, and Early Childhood grantees also receive Bright Futures information and presentations. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has shared Bright Futures material with early intervention providers, and the VDH Division of Community Nutrition has incorporated Bright Futures in the training curricula for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) employees.


Virginia AAP Chapter

For more information about maternal and child health activities in your state, visit the Health Resources and Services Administration's Web site to find local contact information for the Maternal and Child Health and Children With Special Health Care Needs representatives.