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School Health Education and Services
Section Newsletter
Spring 2007

Chair's Message

SHES Turn 65 Years Old!

 

Happy Anniversary to the School Health Education and Services Section!  While 65 years means retirement for some, at age 65, SHES is going strong and has no intention of slowing down.  In fact, advocating for and serving the public health needs of children and young adults is more critical than ever! 

 

Looking back to 1942 when SHES started, it was the second year the United States was in World War II.  The Manhattan Project started, and the first nuclear reactor was built in Chicago.  And on a more trivial level, instant coffee was introduced.  The average cost of a new house was $3,770 compared to $330,000 today, and the average price of a new car was $920 compared to $30,000 in 2007.  Today the topic of conversation among many people is the price of gas, which is $3 or more per gallon.  In 1942, gas was rationed, but if you could buy it, it only set you back 15 cents a gallon!

 

Regarding health issues, 1942 was the year penicillin was first used to treat a patient, and it was reported in Time magazine that President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed May 1 as “Child Health Day.” He told all communities to see that "children over nine months of age be immunized against diphtheria and smallpox, the two diseases for which we have the surest means of prevention."  Time magazine added:  “Reasons for mass immunization: 1) last year 16,000 non-immunized U.S. moppets and adults came down with diphtheria, 1,300 non-vaccinated citizens with smallpox; 2) serious epidemics may flare up in crowded defense areas.”

Currently, immunization of infants and toddlers in the United States has reached an all-time high, with nearly 80 percent of children vaccinated against at least nine diseases before their third birthdays. The CDC estimates that childhood immunization prevents 10.5 million cases of illness and 35,000 deaths a year. Nevertheless, there are about 1 million American children who are not fully immunized.  Tremendous progress has been made since President Roosevelt told communities to ensure children are immunized, but there are still challenges in protecting children from devastating diseases. 

In addition to immunizations, there are other challenges facing the health of children and young adults in 2007.  Some problems have continued since 1942, and some are new.  For example, there have always been obese children, but current statistics report the number of children who are obese has tripled since 1980 with an estimated 9 million children affected.  These children are at increased risk for heart disease and type II diabetes and other serious consequences.  New problems facing children include the threat of online sexual predators and designer drugs.

These are just a few examples of the challenges facing children today. The point is that the work of the School Health Education and Services Section, meaning its members, is essential.  Our members work in schools, hospitals, agencies, government and throughout the community.  They provide education, training, counseling, primary care, advocacy, policy formation, research and a whole host of other tasks designed to improve the health of children and young adults.  We need to celebrate the long history of dedicated professionals who are represented by SHES.  Sixty-five years is a long time for professional dedication to school health education and services, but there’s plenty left to do!  Keep up the good work.

DHPE Honored for its Leadership in Coordinated School Health

 

DHPE Honored for its Leadership in Coordinated School Health

 

The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) received the first annual Lloyd J. Kolbe Award for Leadership in Coordinated School Health at a recent meeting in Atlanta. CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) presented the award for DHPE’s outstanding contributions in promoting coordinated school health programs (CSHPs) nationwide.

 

“DHPE is an extraordinarily worthy recipient of this award for its pioneering work in supporting wellness programs for school staff,” said DASH Director Dr. Howell Wechsler. “In addition, DHPE has been one of the nation’s strongest advocates for CSHPs.”

 

In May 2007, DHPE will be releasing School Employee Wellness: A Guide for Protecting the Assets of Our Nation’s Schools, the first comprehensive guide related to this important component of a coordinated school health program. As part of DHPE’s school health initiative, the School Employee Wellness guide is designed to help school staff improve their own health behaviors and thereby better serve as positive role models for students.

 

The Lloyd J. Kolbe Award honors DASH’s founding director, who led the division for eighteen years.  It is being inaugurated in 2007 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of a landmark article by Dr. Kolbe and Dr. Diane Allensworth that provided a widely accepted framework for coordinated school health programs.

 

DHPE represents 66 Directors of U.S. state and territorial health department and Indian Health Service health education units. It conducts programs and promotes policy development in numerous public health areas. DHPE’s mission is to strengthen, promote, and enhance the professional practice of health promotion and public health education nationally and within State health departments.

Political Action for Kid’s Sake

Political Action for Kids' Sake

APHA ACTION BOARD NURTURES THE GRASSTOPS

 

Grasstops? What’s that?

 

This year the APHA Action Board (the group of section, caucus, SPIG and affiliate representatives that oversees APHA’s advocacy efforts) is trying a new approach of nurturing “grasstop” advocates as well as cultivating the “grassroots.”

Traditionally, action alerts have been sent to every APHA member that urge everyone to send messages to their representatives in the U.S. Congress on pressing public health issues (the grassroots approach). This year Action Board Chair Lois Uttley is spearheading an experimental effort to identify and mobilize a corps of volunteers with a higher level of commitment to advocacy, referred to as grasstops volunteers.

 

The grasstops experiment is focused on the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) appropriating adequate funding for it. Each Action Board member has solicited members of their section, caucus, SPIG, or affiliate for volunteers in the 20 states with senators who sit on the key Senate Finance Committee in charge of reporting an SCHIP bill to the Senate. Grasstops volunteers are those who are willing to go the extra mile by distributing action alerts to colleagues, meeting with congressional representatives in their home offices, coordinating advocacy with state affiliate leaders, and pursuing other intensive advocacy efforts with assistance and guidance from APHA’s advocacy staff members.

 

If you are interested in being a grasstop volunteer, please contact SHES Action Board Representative Jim Bogden at (jim.bogden@mac.com) or APHA Government Relations Manager Kate Sweeney at (kate.sweeney@apha.org).

 

In general, public health and school health are making good headway in the new Congress, though money is very tight for new initiatives. For a review of progress on key issues, see APHA’s June 2007 Legislative Update at
http://www.apha.org/advocacy/activities/legislativeupdate/

 

Joint Scientific Sessions on School Nutrition at APHA

Joint Scientific Sessions on School Nutrition at APHA

The upcoming APHA Annual Meeting program will feature seven oral and three poster sessions that have been jointly organized by the School Health Education Services and the Food and Nutrition sections of APHA. This kind of collaboration between sections is unusual.

Both sections routinely receive numerous abstracts each year on addressing the nation's epidemic of obesity and improving the school nutrition environment, and both typically set up sessions based on the abstracts submitted to their respective sessions. Following last year's APHA Annual Meeting in Boston, SHES Program Planner Dan Adame of Emory University and FN Program Planner Sibylle Kranz of Pennsylvania State University decided that they would consider all of the related abstracts submitted to both sections and mix-and-match them to create more coherent scientific sessions. Each program planner served as a reviewer for each other's abstracts. The highly rated abstracts from each section were arranged according to common themes, and abstracts were transferred back and forth accordingly. It was a time-consuming process.

One joint session will feature the new School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study that evaluated the quality of school meals. Another will focus on the new report from the Institute of Medicine  on Standards for Foods at Schools that addresses available foods that compete with the school meals program.

Look for these sessions in Washington.

Good News

Good News for SHES Members

 

Martha Dewey Bergren, DNS, RN, submitted an APHA resolution in conjunction with the Epidemiology section:  Promoting School Health Information Sharing for Public Health Purposes.  The resolution was returned for revisions and will be resubmitted.  

Martha Dewey Bergren, DNS, RN, was elected Secretary of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators   (ACHNE)  http://www.achne.org/ .   
ACHNE provides a meeting ground for those committed to excellence in community and public health nursing education, research, and practice.  ACHNE also provides networking and educational opportunities through publications and the annual Spring Institute.