School Health Education and Services
Section Newsletter
Fall 2004

Message from the Chair

As we get closer to the APHA Annual Meeting, I want to highlight a few items about the School Health Education and Services (SHES) section:

• Newly-elected SHES officers include Christopher Ledingham of Texas A&M University and Rachel Peters of Woodlawn Middle School in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, each to a three-year term on the section council. Also elected is former SHES chair John Moore of CDC as our section’s representative to the APHA Governing Council for a two-year term. Congratulations to each of you. Chris and Rachel will replace Mark Temple and Susan Opas, and John will replace RuthAnn Althaus, who deserve the thanks of the school health community for their dedicated service.

• We have planned a high quality scientific program that touches on many topics relevant to school health professionals. The 2004 program was more competitive than ever—we could accept only 60 percent of the abstracts submitted, which means that each paper selected for the program received solid ratings from our reviewers. Sadly, some abstracts that were also considered worthy of inclusion could not be accommodated. (See below for more detail on the program planning process). Thank you again to the 42 individuals who donated their valuable time and energy to review abstracts.

• The 2004 winner of the Student Scientific Abstract Award is Jennifer E. Burden for work done while at the Harvard School of Public Health. She will be presented with a plaque and a check for $200 when she presents her paper on “Barriers to change in school food service as perceived by food service employees” at the session titled “Obesity Prevention in School Settings” (session 3233.0, Monday at 12:30 p.m.). The award committee particularly appreciated that her project involved a school population that is typically overlooked.

• The student award committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to Gorette Amaral for work done on an internship at the University of California, San Francisco, while in the graduate program at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her paper is “Meeting adolescents’ needs for mental health services: How effectively do school-based health centers attract the students who need their services the most?” to be presented at the session titled “School-Based Mental Health Programs and Services” (session 3298.0, Monday at 2:30 p.m.). SHES attracted abstracts from a total of 27 students this year. Applying the same selection criteria as abstracts submitted by seasoned professionals, nine were accepted into oral presentations, one into a roundtable, and 14 into poster sessions.

• Everyone who is a member of SHES is invited to attend our three section council meetings at the APHA Annual Meeting. They will be held Sunday afternoon 2-5 p.m. in the Montreal room of the Marriott Metro Center; Tuesday morning 7-8 a.m. in the London room of the Marriott; and Wednesday morning 7-8 a.m., also in the London room. In particular, broad input is welcome at the Wednesday morning meeting titled “Thinking about SHES Next Year and Beyond” -- we highly value your ideas on how to make the scientific program better and how SHES can more effectively promote the mission of school health in other ways.

• We hope all SHES members will attend the Joint Social Hour with the Public Health Education and Health Promotion (PHEHP) section on Monday evening, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Henley Park Hotel, which is just a short walk from the Washington Convention Center. Party planner extraordinaire Dawn Harris is securing a DJ or jazz band and plans to distribute fun door prizes. Join us for a great networking opportunity in an informal setting.

• The APHA Governing Council will decide at the Annual Meeting whether to formally adopt a new position paper on Coordinated School Health Programs that was prepared and submitted by SHES. The SHES Section Council also provided feedback on whether to archive or update several dozen old policies. View a draft at <>.

We hope to see you at the new Washington Convention Center in November.

National Health Education Standards

SHES will again be an official co-sponsor of a project to update and revise the National Health Education Standards, which were released in 1995 and have become the basis of many states’ health education standards (view a summary online at <>). The other co-sponsors are the Association for the Advancement of Health Education, the American School Health Association, and the Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Once again, the standards development effort is being funded by the American Cancer Society.

Section council member Fred Peterson of the University of Texas-Austin is the SHES representative to the standards update project. Contact him at <> to offer comments and suggestions.

SHES Section Leadership

Congratulations to Rachel Peters and Chris Ledingham for being elected to the School Health Education and Services Section Council! They will be replacing Susan Opas and Mark Temple. Thank you, Susan and Mark, for your service to the Section and youth across the country!

Please click the link below to review the complete list of SHES section leaders as of August 2004.

Related Files:

Program Planning: A Multi-dimensional Chess Game

In the original Star Trek series, Spock played an exotic game of three-dimensional chess. Normal chess wasn’t complex or challenging enough for him. Planning the SHES conference program for November is similar, except the number of dimensions is larger.

The board layout: APHA has allocated SHES just 11 oral sessions, one roundtable session, and four poster sessions for the 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington. We also have the option of transferring abstracts to other sections.

The challenge: Fit 163 submitted abstracts into the limited number of presentation slots, maximizing quality and interest while maintaining fairness and minimizing disappointment. About 40 percent of submitted abstracts have to be rejected.

Some of the dimensions to juggle:

Reviewers’ ratings. The most valuable aid to a program planner is the rating and comments given to each abstract by the panel of volunteer abstract reviewers. This year 42 people agreed to review 12 abstracts each and nearly all followed through on their commitment. Reviewers are a mix of former section leaders, people who were approached, people who have expressed interest, and last year’s student presenters. (If you want to help, inform next year’s lead planner, Terry Wessel, at

Student abstracts. SHES has a long-standing commitment to accept as many abstracts as possible from current students in public health programs. Until recently we could routinely accept all that were submitted. Now we have to be more selective: this year we accepted 23 out of 27.

Interesting sessions. Once an initial determination has been made whether to accept or reject each abstract, the accepted ones are grouped into coherent sessions with catchy titles likely to grab wide interest. Sessions on obesity prevention were well attended last year, so the topic is on the agenda again. Sexuality education is another perennial favorite. This year we received several interesting abstracts about innovative survey and research methods, so these have been grouped into one session. School connectiveness, an emerging concept, is another session theme. Innovative, “hands-on” school programs make up the roundtable session. Sadly, a worthy abstract might not be accepted if the topic is a unique outlier.

Special sessions. The overall theme of this year’s APHA Annual Meeting is the Public Health and the Environment, and a group of six linked abstracts were submitted on new developments in environmental education. It was an easy decision to grant these a dedicated session. A second special session is devoted to a group of national health and education associations who want to showcase their collaborative efforts. Another session showcases new initiatives and resources from the U.S. Department of Education and CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Submitters’ preferences. When an abstract is entered into APHA’s online planning system, the author has the opportunity to express a preference as to an oral or poster session. We try to accommodate these preferences.

Session scheduling. SHES has no say on when our allocated sessions are scheduled. Last year our sessions rarely conflicted with each other, but this year they are bunched on Monday and Wednesday with many conflicts. The sessions have been organized into rough parallel tracks, but people will be forced to choose. Sessions expected to have the widest interest are scheduled at mid-day. No one likes to present at—or attend—sessions at 8:30 a.m., or during the last slot on Wednesday afternoon, but someone has to. At least we have no evening sessions.

Terry and I have tried our best to assemble an informative, interesting program for SHES this year. APHA is planning to send out acceptance or rejection notices to authors on May 31, and the full program will be viewable online soon thereafter. SHES members will then be able to judge how well we played this game of multi-dimensional chess.

NIH Research Agenda Focuses on Obesity in Children

The Center for Health Care in the Schools reports that research on the causes and prevention of obesity in children is one focus of a stepped-up research agenda on obesity announced today by the federal National Institutes of Health.

"We are especially concerned about the serious problems we see emerging in overweight children," said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, MD. "Many of these are problems that we used to see only in adults."

The research plan calls for study of behavioral, environmental, genetic, and biologic causes of obesity, as well as prevention and treatment approaches. A report, "Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research," is available online at <>.

Center for Health Care in the Schools: 10 Key Issues for Back-to-School

The Center for Health Care in the Schools provides 10 Key Issues for Back-to-School:

Five Questions to Check Out Your School's Health & Safety Policies
Asthma Management at School
Children with Disabilities
Emergency Preparedness
Flu at School
Medication Management
Mental Health Issues
School Trips
Vision Problems

For more information regarding these issues, go to: <>.

Funding Opportunities in School Health

For information on school health funding opportunities, please visit <> or <>.

APHA Annual Meeting Program

It it time to start gearing up for the trip to Washington for the APHA 132nd Annual Meeting and Exposition. This year the meeting will be held Nov. 6-10 at the new Washington Convention Center.

All members are welcome to attend the SHES Council Meetings held:

(1) Sunday, Nov. 7 from 2-5 p.m. in the Montreal room of the Marriott Metro Center; and

(2) Tuesday, Nov. 9, 7-8 a.m. in the London room.

For a complete list of the SHES presentations, click on the link below.

Related Files:

CDC: Healthy Youth, Healthy Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a great resource for professionals who are interested in: (1) reviewing youth health behaviors; (2) learning more about the school health index (SHI); or (3) reading up on coordinated school health programs. Go to: <>.