For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

American Public Health Association joins America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation campaign

Partnership seeks to reduce high school dropout rate, improve lives of America’s youth

Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2013 — The American Public Health Association and its Center for School, Health and Education today announced they are partnering with America’s Promise Alliance to help reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate and ensure that America’s children and youth have the resources they need to lead healthy, successful lives.

APHA’s decision to work with America’s Promise reflects its commitment to ensuring graduation from high school, which research has shown to be the leading health indicator for adults, even when other factors such as race and income are taken into account.

“We know that the societal and health disparities that impact many of our nation’s youth — from unmet physical and mental health needs to teen pregnancy and the impact of repeated exposure to community violence — also impedes their ability to succeed academically and graduate from school. If we do not stop dropout now, we guarantee poor adult health outcomes, joblessness and a strain to our safety net system later,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, in announcing the collaboration.

Founded in 1997 with General Colin Powell as its founding chair, America’s Promise is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Its strong national network of more than 400 partners is comprised of organizations representing all sectors of American life. Through America’s Promise, these partners are working together to end the dropout crisis and see that more children and youth experience the organization’s five promises in their lives: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others.

As an official partner, APHA will support and take part in the work of America’s Promise to ensure that more of the nation’s young people experience the five promises and are equipped to finish high school prepared for college and the 21st century workforce. Through its Center for School, Health and Education, APHA will also be an active partner in supporting the work of the Grad Nation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to end the dropout crisis. The goal of Grad Nation is to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.

“Creating stronger communities where youth feel supported and encouraged is essential to America’s future strength and vitality,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America's Promise Alliance. “By coming together in common purpose, we demonstrate our commitment and the fact that we all have a role to play in the success of our children and youth, and we are infinitely more powerful as a united force.  We’re thrilled that APHA has joined this movement.”

To learn more about America’s Promise Alliance, visit: www.americaspromise.org. For more about APHA’s Center for School, Health and Education, visit www.schoolbasedhealthcare.org.

# # #
Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.