Irving Rambler –– Dr. Jeff Livingston, an Irving-based physician and managing partner of MacArthur OBGYN, received the 2012 Heroes for Children Award from the Texas State Board of Education for his public school volunteerism and his demonstration of character, heart and passion. Livingston, one of 15 recipients of this year’s award, received it from Texas’ top educators group on Nov. 16.
The Heroes for Children Award is given annually to individuals who dedicate their time — often ranging in the thousands of hours — to Texas public schools. The Board of Education’s award recognizes volunteers from across Texas for their passionate and strong desire to give back to their communities and schools, and their hard work to improve the lives of children.
Dr. Livingston is a volunteer in the Irving Independent School District where he educates students, parents and educators about health issues, teen pregnancy and STD prevention.
Throughout the past nine years, Livingston has spoken to countless Irving ISD students, providing information about making proper sexual choices, personal responsibility, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention. His volunteerism in the schools began shortly after he began to practice in 2003.
“Shortly after I joined MacArthur OBGYN I began seeing a large number of young teenagers and was surprised at the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy and an overall lack of knowledge regarding sexual health. I reached out to the local school nurses and offered myself as a resource,” Livingston said. “Navigating through a politically charged issue like teen pregnancy was a challenge at first, but after gaining the support of Irving ISD administration I began giving lectures and presentations on teen pregnancy and STD prevention.”
Livingston also sponsors and works closely with the Teenage Parent and Parenting (TAPPS) workshop each spring, focusing on child development, parenting, child abuse prevention, healthy relationships and other health information.
TAPPS is a district-wide program that meets the needs of pregnant and parenting students. While the national high school graduation rate for teen parents hovers around 40 percent, the graduation rate for TAPPS students is higher than 90 percent. By creating a partnership between the TAPPS program and community physicians, the partnership extends the reach of the program beyond the four walls of the classroom.
“The physicians and I in my practice not only care for the pregnant student, but also work with them to make sure they are enrolled in the TAPPS program,” he said. “We enroll them in the YWCA Nurse Family partnership, which provides mentorship, prenatal and parenting education and schedule visits around their school day.
“We empower students to be ready to parent, and we aggressively educate on contraception to avoid a second teen pregnancy. We have demonstrated that identifying the pregnant students and meeting their specific needs can change lives. We see successful pregnancies and help the students achieve success in the classroom. The payoff for these efforts will be seen for generations to come.”
Dr. Livingston is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist who grew up in Dallas. In 2009 he received the Golden Apple Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to students and teachers. He also serves as the medical director of a crisis pregnancy center called Real Choices and is former chairman of the OB/GYN Department at Baylor Medical Center of Irving.
The Heroes for Children honorees are selected by the state education board members and are recognized for volunteering their time, talents and skills to help improve the public schools in their communities. One recipient of the award is chosen from each Board of Education district.
Written by Phil Cerroni