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Strengthening Cross-Sector Collaborations with Schools

The CHAI school health team led by Community Affairs envisions Children’s National Hospital to be a school-friendly healthcare system that is designed to help all children reach optimal health and achieve their full academic potential. Education is a critical social determinant of health for children and impacts long-term health and economic outcomes. 

We support student and school wellness through coordination and partnerships between the health and education sectors. Coordination and partnerships are at the system or organizational level between the hospital, local school districts and relevant groups that support schools (government, community-based organizations and advocacy organizations).


  • Communication: We strive for communication and data-sharing between schools and the health system in order to improve individual and population health in schools.
  • Coordination: We align our school-based work with community needs and educational system goals in order to improve population health in schools through policy, advocacy and evidence-based frameworks.
  • Education: We educate our healthcare system on academic issues and we educate the school system on child health issues.
  • Data-Driven: We use program evaluation and community-wide data to guide all aspects of our work and to identify gaps and needs.

Core Functions

  • Conduct school health policy and program research. 
  • Convene and facilitate dialogue between the health and education sectors to strengthen partnerships and identify meaningful policy and system change opportunities. For example, in 2018 we hosted a School Health Symposium that convened more than 160 health and education partners focused on improving outcomes for children. Read the report.
  • Provide/facilitate multidisciplinary education to providers, trainees and school staff and students on critical education and health issues. 
  • Document and share Children's National stories of success and impact.
  • Create opportunities for staff to engage with schools and school-aged children through community benefit activities.