Given that children spend so much of their time in school, it is essential that health and educational systems collaborate to improve efficiency and create the policies and practices. We envision a school-friendly health care system designed to ensure all children reach optimal health and achieve their full academic potential. In 2017, Children’s National launched a School Health Collaborative to provide a forum for Children National’s staff to learn about regional school-based efforts and identify areas for collaboration and strategic growth.
- 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 health care 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.
Children's National School-Based Programs
For more than two decades, Children’s National has served the school system through providing more than two dozen school-based programs (PDF) including oral health, mental health, reproductive health and school nursing. We currently lead 29 school health programs and initiatives that span efforts from direct clinical care to educational interventions. Since 2017, our institution has launched 10 new programs that innovatively address school health including celiac disease management, chronic absenteeism reduction and Type II Diabetes prevention. Our school health programs and initiatives span all educational levels (early childhood to 12th grade) and reach over 100,000 students in 217 schools in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding region.
Since our first report was released in 2017, we have seen an increased involvement from Children's National in making school health a priority as well as additional investments to assist school health programs in sustaining and expanding mental health initiatives across the region. Access our latest report that summarizes the current school health programs and initiatives led by our institution.
CHAI released an executive summary and report on the School Health Symposium that was held to strengthen relationships between health and education sectors. On June 19, 2018, Children’s National convened more than 160 health and education partners representing 37 different organizations and agencies from across our region to focus on improving outcomes for children. The objectives of the symposium were to identify critical academic and health challenges for children, to help build a prepared and skilled workforce across sectors and to identify strategies to increase collaboration between health and education sectors. As a result of attending the symposium, attendees expressed the desire to increase communication and collaboration across sectors through active partnerships to help our children regionally.
“The school setting is so critical for the health and well-being of children and their families,” said Children's National President and CEO Kurt Newman, M.D., at the School Health Symposium. Children’s National is committed to being a school-friendly health care system designed to ensure all children reach optimal health and achieve their full academic potential.
Given the link between health and learning, it is essential for health and education systems to collaborate. Through leadership and collaboration, CHAI advances policy and system changes to achieve health equity for all children. Achieving health equity for children in our community means recognizing the important role that education plays in health outcomes for children. By engaging with schools, teachers and parents we hope to address the needs of our patients and target efforts and resources as part of our Care, Advocacy, Research and Education (CARE) mission.