The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® Focused on FITNESS Program
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® Focused on FITNESS (Fun In Teaching Nutrition and Exercise to Successful Students) is operated in association with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC. The program is a school-based initiative designed to get children and families moving, eating well, and enjoying good health.
Though the FITNESS program, the Division of Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital aims to support the whole student, the whole family, and the whole community. FITNESS staff works with school administrators, staff, and teachers to create a culture of wellness and to organize activities that promote good health.
The FITNESS program was launched in the 2017-2018 school year at three elementary schools and two middle schools in Washington, D.C. Each year, we engage with up to four new schools for school and community health transformation and capacity building. As new sites are added, we continue engaging with previous participating schools for an additional year in order to ensure ongoing sustainability.
FITNESS Program Elements
- Nutrition and Physical Activity Programming for Children and Families
- Physical activity and nutrition education opportunities for students before, during, and after school
- Family Fit Nights that engage children and families in fun exercise activities
- Cooking Matters, a hands-on cooking class that teaches healthy meal prep—and even ventures out to the grocery store for a tour of where to find nutritious options
- Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings and resources to help students and families make healthy choices in their communities
- Teacher and Staff Training and Capacity Building
- Active Wellness Committees in each FITNESS school
- Integrated evidence-based nutrition education into existing curriculum to meet guidelines
- Teachers training to integrate physical activity into classrooms
- FITNESS Intensive Program
- Multidisciplinary model of care including screening for and addressing social determinants of health
- FITNESS Intensive program for students with a BMI above the 85th
- Participating students and their families meet with a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, and pediatrician at nine weekly, after-school sessions. Services are provided in our 40-foot Care Mobile, parked right at the school for maximum
- Community Engagement
- Referrals to community-based nutrition and physical activity services
- Community partnership to improve access to healthy foods
- Programming events at our community at local health fairs and summer camps
The FITNESS team
Exercise Physiologist: Shakeelah Sutton, MS, RCEP
Shakeelah is a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist who assists people of all ages in finding creative ways to use their bodies for their intended purpose: to move. As a firm believer in the concept of “exercise is medicine,” Shakeelah is passionate about using physical activity as a tool for managing and preventing lifestyle-related medical conditions.
Registered Dietitian: Jasmine C. Dailey, MPH, RD, CHES
Jasmine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has years of experience with supervised in-kitchen training, food science instruction, and clinical dietetic work. Jasmine is dedicated to making the healthy choice the easiest choice for children and their families.
Community Health Educator: Nichelle L. Johnson, MPH
Nichelle has over five years of experience providing nutrition and health education to D.C. public schools, public charter schools, staff, students, and families. She is passionate about reducing health disparities and improving the wellbeing of children in underserved communities.
Medical Director: Janine A. Rethy, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Rethy has extensive experience implementing and evaluating best-practice solutions in community and preventive health as well as health systems transformations in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and serves the American Academy of Pediatrics as a Childhood Obesity Advisor for Continuing Health. Throughout her career, including in her current positions as Division Chief for Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown and faculty at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Rethy has been committed to decreasing health disparities and working with families and communities to be healthy and thrive.
Pediatric Attending Physician: Maria Aramburu de la Guardia, MD, MPH
With extensive training and experience in community and public health, Dr. Aramburu de la Guardia brings deep expertise in childhood nutrition to the FITNESS program. She has served as an attending physician in the Department of Pediatrics since 2013 and has led multiple projects to improve the health of her patients and the community. Some of these projects include designing the FITNESS program and conducting the needs assessment that informed the fundraising for this program. She currently serves as the medical director of the Roosevelt High School School-Based Health Center in Washington D.C. and is an active part of the FITNESS program planning and clinical interventions.