VITAHLS: Valley Initiative to Advance Health & Learning in Schools

Mission Statement

Griffin Hospital and the Valley School Districts (Shelton, Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, and Seymour schools, including Emmett O’Brien Technical), are committed to promoting the health of the Valley community and to combating childhood obesity. The Valley Initiative to Advance Health & Learning in Schools (VITAHLS) brings together Griffin Hospital, the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and the 5 Valley school districts to develop, implement, evaluate, and sustain a Valley-wide school-based childhood obesity prevention program to reduce the prevalence of obesity in students in grades Pre-K – 12.


  • To reduce the prevalence of obesity and to promote the health, wellbeing, and academic readiness of students enrolled in the 5 Valley school districts.
  • To develop a comprehensive and sustainable obesity prevention initiative that focuses on nutrition and physical activity for children in grades Pre-K – 12.
  • To extend the health promotion efforts to include parents/family and school staff.

Objectives of the VITAHLS initiative

  • To create an obesity prevention initiative designed to increase nutrition knowledge and healthy eating and increase physical activity within and outside of the school day

  • To create and support a health promoting environment within the school setting.
  • To create programs/activities that can be easily incorporated into, and with minimal disruption, to the school day
  • To include policy, environmental/structural and educational components
  • To create programs/activities that are sustainable over time with little to no budget impact on schools, and/or
  • To secure funding to support any program related costs
  • To include and encourage participation at all levels – students, parents, family, teachers, staff
  • To increase community awareness of obesity and health related risks
  • Be communicated and promoted effectively
  • To evaluate the impact of the VITAHLS initiative
  • To demonstrate improvement in the health of students by:
    • Reducing the prevalence of obesity
    • Reducing the average number of sick days per student

Community Partners

  • Yale-Griffin PRC logo
  • Griffin Hospital logo
  • CT State Department of Education logo
  • Jones Family Farms logo
  • Massaro Community Farm logo
  • the YMCA logo
  • ShopRite logo

Participating Districts & Schools

  • By Permit procedure document for City of Ansonia, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12831919
  • By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29054767
  • Seal of the Town of Seymour
  • Emmet O'Brien Tech logo