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UW-Madison experts ready to help prepare for school year

August 14, 2017 By Käri Knutson


MADISON – As parents, students and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year, experts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison are ready to provide expertise on a variety of subjects.


Dr. Marcia Slattery, a child psychiatrist and director of the UW Anxiety Disorder programs, can offer tips on helping children who are anxious about the start of the school year. Contact:  Susan Lampert Smith,, or (608) 890-5643.

Elizabeth Graue, the Sorenson Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the School of Education, is available to offer advice for starting school/kindergarten. Contact: 608-263-4200,


Mitchell Nathan, professor in the department of Educational Psychology at the School of Education, can talk about effective learning and which study techniques work best, including the benefits of taking practice tests and spreading study sessions out over time instead of cramming. Contact:


School of Nursing Assistant Professor Traci Snedden, who researches brain injury in school-aged children, can talk about the importance of properly fitted helmets and how to ensure your child is wearing the right helmet in the right way. She can also discuss physicals and what other precautions parents should take to ensure that sports programs are appropriate and safe for their children.  Contact:, 608-263-5246.


Infectious disease keeps kids out of school. Many common ailments, from the flu to whooping cough, are preventable. School of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Tracy Saladar can explain the importance of immunizations and share recommendations for the appropriate immunizations for different ages. She can also share recommended practices, such as handwashing and proper sleep, that minimize the risk of catching infections from classmates. Contact:, 608-263-7443.


August is a great time to check vision and update glasses or contacts — before kids start to struggle in school. Also make sure other prescriptions are up-to-date and that all necessary forms for administering medications at school are current and on file. School of Nursing Professor Eileen Kintner is an expert on asthma in adolescence, and Clinical Professor Lori Anderson is a former school nurse who developed eSchoolCare, a digital tool to support school nurses who are the only healthcare providers within the school system. Contact:, 608-263-5269;, 608-262-6932


Cassie Vanderwall, a clinical nutritionist with UW Hospital and Clinics, can offer tips on how to keep your kids active and eating healthy during the school year. UW Health Chef Julie Andrews can suggest ways to delicious ways to make meals more nutritious. Contact: Emily Kumlien at


Andrew Ruis, researcher with the Epistemic Games Group housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the School of Education, can talk about the origins of American school meal initiatives to explain why it was (and, to some extent, has continued to be) so difficult to establish meal programs that satisfy the often competing interests of children, parents, schools, health authorities, politicians, and the food industry. Ruis is a historian and author of “Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat” who specializes in the history of medicine and public health and the history of food and nutrition. Contact:, 608-215-0073.