Centene Corporation And Cenpatico Partner With Children's National Health System To Fight Bullying

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) and its subsidiary, Cenpatico, have teamed up with Children's National Health System to put a stop to bullying through education and empowerment. The Anti-bullying Campaign, "No Bullying Zone," will educate students, teachers and parents across the country on how to prevent, identify and appropriately intervene with bullying in school-aged children. The initiative kicked off this month during National Anti-bullying Awareness Month, and the collaboration on these efforts will run for three years. 

Bullying has become a significant problem in the United States:

  • Every seven minutes a child is bullied.
  • Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying.
  • 1 out of 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
  • Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents.

Despite these numbers, few parents, teachers and other authorities are informed or intervene to stop bullying. As a result, children suffer from negative side effects, such as significant drops in grades, increased anxiety, loss of friends and poor social life.

"As a leading national healthcare company, Centene believes in treating the whole person, not just the physical body," said Mary Mason, M.D., Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer for Centene. "We are excited about the potential from this partnership with Children's National Health System. The social issue of bullying impacts both physical and mental health, which has detrimental and long-term effects on children and their communities."

"Bullying is a pervasive behavior among children. If we can empower them through this much-needed campaign, we can help kids better understand what bullying is and what its consequences are," said Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President of Community Affairs and the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children's National Health System. "We are grateful to Centene and Cenpatico for partnering with us on this important initiative."

Dr. Wright is an expert in understanding the effects of bullying on children and how it can impact all aspects of their health and well-being. In addition to his position at the Children's National Health System, Dr. Wright is also a Professor at the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and recipient of the 2011 Fellows Achievement Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his bullying awareness and youth violence prevention efforts.

"No Bullying Zone" Campaign

Centene, Cenpatico and Dr. Wright worked together with award-winning author Michelle Bain to write a children's book on bullying. The 16-page book tells the story of the character, Splotch the Madpole, being a bully to his classmates, but when he is bullied, he learns the importance of being kind to others.

Through Centene's established Adopt-a-School program, representatives from its local health plans will work with area schools to administer a pre-test about bullying, conduct the book reading with Bain, and  issue a post-test about the subject. Students will also receive a copy of the book and a parents' guide on how to deal with bullying. Teachers will receive a lesson plan about the topic.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to add comments and artwork to a special anti-bullying graffiti wall. This wall will travel around the country over the next year as part of the focus on this topic and will ultimately be housed in Washington D.C.

The first stop for this campaign, including the traveling graffiti wall, is scheduled for October 31 at Oak Park Elementary School in Lake Charles, La. Confirmed attendees include motivational speaker RaShad D. Bristo and the Honorable Randy Roach, Mayor of the City of Lake Charles.

The next stop will be at Friendship Public Charter School's Blow Pierce Junior Academy in Washington D.C. on November 21.

In addition to this current campaign, Cenpatico, Centene's behavioral health specialty company, has been working on several initiatives across the country to fight bullying. Cenpatico Schools, a Division of Cenpatico, provides private day treatment and special education programming to multiple school districts in central Arizona. Cenpatico Schools Division is a partner in the StopBullyingAZ initiative sponsored by Phoenix's First Lady Nicole Stanton. The mission for the initiative is to end bullying in all its forms by increasing awareness and promoting the tools needed by educators, care givers and students.

"Cenpatico is working on multiple fronts to address the critical problem of bullying and its impact on children and youth," said Sam Donaldson, Cenpatico's CEO and President. "Kids who act out and bully others are many times victims themselves. Parents, teachers, counselors, all of us need to be aware and intervene when bullying occurs and then address the issues for the bully and the kids being bullied."

About Centene Corporation:
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to the rising number of under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care and Long-term Care (LTC), in addition to other state-sponsored/hybrid programs, and Medicare (Special Needs Plans). The Company operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, care management software, correctional systems healthcare, life and health management, managed vision, pharmacy benefits management and telehealth services.

About Cenpatico:
Cenpatico's expertise lies in managing benefits for vulnerable populations. Our healthcare specialties include behavioral health, foster care, school-based services, specialty therapy and rehabilitation, community reentry and more. We have managed Medicaid and other public sector benefits since 1994; currently, we serve more than 2.5 million members nationally. Our headquarters are in Austin, Texas and we have local teams across the country in the markets we serve. Cenpatico is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation. We are committed to innovative solutions and designing programs tailored to improving functional outcomes with our members.

About Children's National Health System:
Children's National Health System, based in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation's children since 1870. Children's National's hospital is Magnet® designated, and is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. Home to the Children's Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children's National is one of the nation's top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. With a community-based pediatric network, eight regional outpatient centers, an ambulatory surgery center, two emergency rooms, an acute care hospital, and collaborations throughout the region, Children's National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as an advocate for all children. For more information, visit ChildrensNational.org, or follow us onFacebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Centene Corporation