Building School Health Connections to Improve Health and Academic Outcomes
October 26, 2022 by Julia DeAngelo, MPH
Children’s National Hospital has proudly served the early childhood and K-12 school systems for more than two decades. We currently lead over 20 school health programs and initiatives that span efforts from policy advocacy, providing school-based health services and educational interventions. Our efforts support diverse populations including students, teachers, parents/caregivers and other support professionals. We recognize education is a critical social determinant of health for children that impacts long-term health and economic outcomes. Our vision is for Children’s National to be a school-friendly health care system that is designed to help all children reach optimal health and achieve their full academic potential.
Our CHAI school health team provides leadership on Children’s National school partnerships efforts that are driven by our Community Health Needs Assessment and local priorities. Our multidisciplinary team has training and expertise in community health, health care administration, pediatric medicine and public affairs. We aim to support school wellness through coordination and partnerships between the health and education sectors by focusing on four goals:
- 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.
One of our key efforts is to facilitate connections between the health and education sectors to build relationships that can advance health and academic outcomes for all children. In 2022, we launched a School Health Connections e-newsletter that is sent monthly to school health partners and our health care workforce. The School Health Connections Newsletter brings current events, trainings, resources and more to one place with the goal to connect individuals and organizations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to all things school health. To sign up for our newsletter, please email SchoolPartnerships@childrensnational.org. To learn more about how we are strengthening partnerships with schools, visit our website at childrensnational.org/school-partnerships.
About the author
Julia DeAngelo, MPH
Program Manager for School Strategies within the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children's National Hospital