KSU and GPC partner to bring health and dental care services to adults with psychiatric disabilities

"To Your Health‚" a unique program led by Kennesaw State University's School of…

Georgia (Jul 24, 2002) — KSU and GPC partner to bring health and dental care services to adults with psychiatric disabilities

Karen Kennedy


"To Your Health‚" a unique program led by Kennesaw State University's School of Nursing‚ brings much−needed health and dental care services to mentally−ill adults in metro Atlanta‚ while providing a service−learning opportunity for student nurses in a mental health clinical rotation.

As part of the program KSU baccalaureate nursing students and faculty provide health care to mentally−ill clients served by Community Friendship Inc.‚ an award−winning non−profit psychiatric rehabilitation center for people in metro Atlanta. The program is funded through a grant from the Willet Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Inc. The KSU nursing department conducts health assessments‚ exercise and nutrition classes‚ basic health care screenings and offers referrals of primary−care physicians. In addition‚ the students lead activities and educational programs on issues such as stress‚ health−risk factors and healthy−living behaviors.

"Often programs [such as those provided by CFI] that treat persons with mental illness do not provide access to wellness programs‚ primary health or dental care‚" says Dr. Mary Ann Camann‚ a KSU nursing professor and director of "To Your Health."

Dr. Camann and the KSU Nursing Department responded to the lack of medical care and searched for a way to provide dental care. A partnership with the Georgia Perimeter College Dental Hygiene Clinic provided the answer. The clinic has been offering dental services to CFI clients as a pilot program‚ but hopes to be able to continue the project.

"It's a great opportunity for students to work with a wide variety of patients‚" says Dr. Ronda Karelitz‚ GPC's Dental Hygiene Department chair. "If students are not exposed to different kinds of patients‚ they might not be fully prepared to treat patients with different kinds of life situations. The more diverse the population‚ the better the students' preparation."

According to Camann the experience has been positive for everyone involved. "Everybody profits from this partnership‚" she says. "The students get a broad idea of rehabilitation and clients get the benefit of having someone who cares about their overall well being."


Kennesaw State University‚ a progressive‚ comprehensive institution with a growing student population of 14‚100 from 118 countries‚ offers more than 50 degree programs. Out of 34 institutions‚ KSU is the sixth largest in the University System of Georgia.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu