Press Release for Monday, April 17, 2006

UNF Nursing Professor Receives Community Service Award

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102



University of North Florida nursing professor Dr. Barbara J. Kruger, PhD, MPH, RN, received the 2006 Susan Jaskevich Award for outstanding commitment to children with special needs and their families by the Jacksonville Commission on Services for Children with Special Needs. This award is presented annually in memory of Susan Jaskevich, a visionary leader and advocate for children with special needs and their families.

At UNF, Kruger has developed service-learning partnerships among nursing students and agencies that serve children with special needs. She is the principal investigator of the Northeast Florida School Nurse Study funded by a UNF Brooks College of Health Summer Grant to explore the role and education needs of school nurses who care for children with special health needs. This community-based participatory study was designed and is being implemented by members of the Health Committee of the Commission and UNF School of Nursing faculty.

“I believe that improving systems of care for children with special needs and their families, including the preparation of future health providers, is best achieved through community-based partnerships among key stakeholders, children and youth, families, providers, and educators,” said Kruger.

She has served as a board member and been active on committees in the Commission on Services for Children with Special Needs. Kruger and local pediatrician Dr. Karen Toker received an Academy of Pediatric Community Access to Child Health planning grant, which convened numerous stakeholders in Northeast Florida, to improve systems of care for children and families. This study produced a community strategic plan that is monitored by the Commissions’ Health Committee.

Kruger has devoted her career to helping children with special needs and their families. During her tenure with the State of New Hampshire, Division of Public Health Services, she developed a home visiting program that paired a teacher of the deaf with a nurse to assist families of infants and young children who were deaf/hearing impaired. She also developed and implemented the first Parent-to-Parent state-wide family support program for families of children with special needs in collaboration with families.



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