School Health Education and Services
Section Newsletter
Winter 2005

Wellness Policies for Schools

Looking Ahead to 'Wellness Policies' in Schools

Noting that a 2004 law reauthorizing federally funded school food programs requires schools receiving federal funds to have "wellness policies" in place not later than school year 2006, a number of organizations are coming up with plans to help schools meet that deadline.

For more on the policies, visit <>.

Nancy Eichner
Senior Program Manager
The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW #505 Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 466-3396
Fax: (202) 466-3467

National Health Education Summit March 12-14, 2005

Learn how to navigate the corridors of power! With the new Congress, it is more critical than ever that the voice of school health professionals be heard on Capitol Hill.

The APHA School Health Education and Services (SHES) Section is once again a proud co-sponsor of the eighth annual National Health Education Advocacy Summit, to be held in Washington, D.C. on March 12-14, 2005. The summit is an intensive, skill-building weekend workshop geared toward graduate students, leaders of national health education organizations, and health education professionals working in a wide variety of settings, including local and state health and education agencies, schools and universities, voluntary organizations, and professional associations.

Attendees will participate in either basic or advanced-level advocacy training, briefings on specific legislative issues by experienced professionals from the government relations staffs of key public health organizations, and arrange and conduct visits, either individually or in state delegations, with members of Congressional representatives. The issues on which the Summit will focus this year are eliminating health disparities and increased appropriations for CDC’s Coordinated School Health Program.

An application has been submitted to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing to award up to 10.0 continuing education contact hours for this event.

Pre-registration fees are $140 for professionals and $70 for full-time students by March 4, 2005. Onsite registration fees will be $165 for professionals and $95 for full-time students after March 4. You may fax, e-mail or mail your registration along with payment to SOPHE, Attn: Advocacy Summit 2005, 750 First Street N.E., Suite 910, Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 408-9815 FAX, or <>.

A block of sleeping rooms has been reserved for conference participants at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, 525 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20001. Please make your room reservation directly with the hotel by calling (202) 628-2100. Identify yourself with the Health Education Advocacy Summit 2005 in order to obtain the group rate of $165.00 single; $185.00 double, plus tax. The reservation cut-off is Feb. 9, 2005. After the cut-off date, reservations are on a space- available basis and cannot be guaranteed the group rate.

All public health students and professionals need to learn and practice advocacy skills. For a draft agenda and additional information, visit the Health Education Advocate Web site at: <>.

Journal Highlights the Obesity Epidemic

The December 2004 issue of The State Education Standard (Vol. 5, No. 2) focused on the obesity epidemic and what schools can do. This is a special edition that features an array of writers who address critical issues of policy and practice.

In this issue, Howell Wechsler, Mary McKenna, Sara Lee and William Dietz report that "since 1980, the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled, while rates among adolescents have more than tripled." The implications are that childhood obesity is contributing to higher rates of type 2 diabetes and increased risk of heart disease in young people. Additionally, children who are overweight also suffer from discrimination and poor self-esteem.

Although physical activity and eating behaviors that impact weight are influenced by several different sectors in society (e.g., families, community organizations, health care providers, etc.), the authors suggest that schools can play a very important role in addressing the obesity epidemic through the following 10 key strategies.

1. Address physical activity and nutrition through a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) approach.
2. Designate a school health coordinator and maintain an active school health council.
3. Assess the school's health policies and programs and develop a plan for improvement.
4. Strengthen the school's nutrition and physical activity policies.
5. Implement a high-quality health promotion program for school staff.
6. Implement a high-quality course of study in health education.
7. Implement a high-quality course of study in physical education.
8. Increase opportunities for students to engage in physical activity.
9. Implement a quality school meals program.
10. Ensure that students have appealing, healthy choices in foods and beverages offered outside of the school meals program.

Other articles in this issue include:

-Preventing Weight Problems Before They Become Too Hard to Solve, Stuart Trager.
-Healthy Policies for Healthy Kids, Denise Rhiner.
-Physical Education's Critical Role in Educating the Whole Child and Reducing Childhood Obesity, Charlene Burgeson.
-Local Nutrition Policies, Dayle Hayes.
-Vending Machine Dilemmas: Promoting Healthy Choices, Tracy Fox.
-Creating and Evaluating School-based Initiatives to Improve Nutrition and Physical Activity, Alicia Moag-Stahlberg.

Several of the articles are posted online at <>. Standard and additional copies are available for $10 plus $2 for shipping and handling with discounts for bulk purchases. Order by calling NASBE at (800) 220-5183 or visit <>.

Tsunami Assistance

If you or your classes want to offer assistance to the survivors of the devastaing quake-tsunami, here are some of the local and national organizations accepting donations to help victims in South Asian. Most groups recommend that people donate cash rather than supplies. The American School Health Association does not endorse any particular organization. APHA compiled the following list and recommends checking the consumer guidelines for giving found on the Web site for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at <> before donating to any charity.

American Red Cross – Donations can be made online by going to <> and following the instructions on the home page. Donations can also be sent to the International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. For more information about donating, please call (800) 435-7669. For information about friends or relatives who may have been victims, call (866) 438-4636.

CARE USA – Donations may be made online at <>. Contributions may also be made by phone at (800) 422-7385 or (800) 521-CARE. You may also e-mail <> for more information about donating.

UNICEF USA – Donations may be made online at <>. Checks and money orders made payable to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF may be mailed to, 333 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.

World Vision – Donations may be made online at <>. Monetary contributions will be used to provide food and family survival kits to Asian countries. Each kit provides things like blankets, tarps for temporary shelter, water purification tablets and cooking supplies.

United Nations World Food Programme – Donations may be made online at <>. Contributions may be mailed to U.S. Friends of the WFP, P.O. Box 11856, Washington, D.C. 20008. Donations by U.S. taxpayers are tax-deductible.

Oxfam America – Donations may be made online at <>. Checks payable to Oxfam America may be mailed to Oxfam America, Asia Earthquake Fund, P.O. Box 211, Albert Lea, MN 56007-1211.

Asia Relief – The Maryland-based nonprofit organization is accepting donations of cash, nonperishable food, clothing and toys for victims in Sri Lanka. Donations should be dropped off or mailed to Asia Relief, 19409 Olive Tree Way, Gaithersburg, MD 20879. Please contact Rizwan Mowlana at (301)672-9355 for more information.

Association for India’s Development Inc. — The Maryland-based nonprofit organization is accepting cash donations to help relief work in India. Contributions can be made on the Web at <> or mailed to AID Zone 3, P.O. Box 4801, Mountain View, CA 94040-0801, with checks made payable to AID. Contact Priya Ranjan at (301) 422-4441 for more information.

Tsunami Relief Inc. – The Virginia-based nonprofit group has been set up to help victims in Sri Lanka. Donors can call (703) 934-6922 or mail checks payable to Tsunami Relief Inc. to 9302 Lee Hwy., Fifth Floor, Fairfax, VA 22031.

Direct Relief International – Donations can be made online at <> or by phone at (805) 964-4767. Checks and money orders may be mailed to Direct Relief International, 27 S. La Patera Lane, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93117.

B’nai B’rith International – Donations can be made online at <> or mailed to B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund, 2020 K St. NW, Seventh Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006.

Mercy Corps – Donations can be made online at <> or by phone at (800) 852-2100. Donations may also be mailed to Mercy Corps, Dept. W, P.O. Box 2669, Portland, OR 97208.

Operation USA – The Los Angeles-based international relief agency is accepting donations online at <> or by phone at (800) 678-7255. Donations may also be mailed to Operation USA, 8320 Melrose Ave., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – Donations can be made online at <>, or contributions can be made by phone at (888) 392-0392. MSF is airlifting more than 60 tons of medical, surgical, and water-and-sanitation equipment to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

More information about donations to humanitarian organizations can be found on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Web site, <>.

Donors can also call the Center for International Disaster Information at (703) 276-1914.

Susan F. Wooley, PhD, CHES
Executive Director
American School Health Association
7263 State Route 43 PO Box 708
Kent, Ohio 44240
P: (330) 678-1601
F: (330) 678-4526

American School Health Association Conference

Program applications are available for the:

79th Annual American School Health Association Conference
Oct. 19 - 22, 2005
Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center
Burbank, Calif.

Program applications - in PDF or RTF format - are available on the ASHA w]Web site at <>. The conference theme is "Supersize Prevention: Obesity, Diabetes and Other Critical Issues."

Application deadline: Feb. 11, 2005.

We invite you to submit a program application and join us in learning about the latest developments in identifying the causes of the obesity, diabetes and other health problems among children and youth with a focus on effective prevention strategies and practical approaches to school-based prevention. Other conference topics will emphasize the components of coordinated school health.

For more information, contact Mary Bamer Ramsier, <>.

Mary Bamer Ramsier, Meeting Planner
American School Health Association
7263 State Route #43 / Box 708
Kent, OH 44240-0708
Phone:(330) 678-1601 x127 Fax:(330) 678-4526
Please visit our Web site for more information
on conferences, publications, and membership:

Call for Abstracts

APHA's School Health Education and Services (SHES) Section invites abstracts for oral presentations and posters from those with an interest in the health and well being of students and staff members in preschool, K-12 school, and college settings. Rigorously designed, data-based research findings and case studies regarding current practice and policy are invited, particularly those that address the following topics:

• Abstinence-only vs. comprehensive sexuality education: scientific research on effectiveness of programs;
• Advocacy for school health;
• Alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention programs for youth;
• Alternative lifestyles/GLBT, meeting health needs of all students;
• Confidentiality of school health records -- should BMI records be sent home?
• Connecting Public Health and Public Schools;
• Current issues in college health programs;
• Current issues in school health services;
• Healthy school nutrition environments;
• International school health;
• Mental health among school students;
• Obesity prevention programs in schools;
• Parent/family involvement in school health;
• Positive youth development and bullying/violence prevention;
• Safe and healthy school environments/emergency preparedness in schools and colleges;
• School health and academic achievement;
• School staff health promotion;
• School-based HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention;
• School-based health clinics;
• Technology-enhanced K-12 school health programs;
• What price beauty? Teens, body image and cosmetic surgery;
• Youth sexual health; and
• Other topics not listed related to school health.

The list of topics is preliminary and subject to later revision. Abstracts are expected to described actual, not anticipated, findings. Reviewers will assess abstracts according to the following criteria:
- Purpose as related to school health;
- Significance of study;
- Appropriate methodology;
- Significance of findings; and
- Quality of conclusions or recommendations, usefulness for supporting or strengthening school health.

Please include learner-centered objectives for oral sessions to qualify for continuing education credit approval.

Currently enrolled public health students are especially encouraged to submit abstracts of research work performed to satisfy academic coursework or requirements. Be sure to identify your academic program and institution. The Section will present an award for the best student research abstract.

Program Planner Contact Information:
Maria Theresa Wessel, EdD, CHES
Department of Health Sciences
James Madison University
MSC 4301
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: (540) 568-3955
Fax: (540) 568-3336


James F. Bogden, MPH
National Association of State Boards of Education
277 S. Washington Street
Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 684-4000 x108
Fax: (703) 836-2313

The Abstinence Clearinghouse Goes to War

In response to a recent letter by a group of House Democrats to federal health officials calling for an end to the "polarizing debate" over sex education in America's schools, the National Abstinence Clearinghouse issued a news release Jan. 11 asserting that, “There is no common ground between contraception educators and authentic abstinence educators. That is because, like oil and water, abstinence and condoms never mix. The idea of applying the ABC model [Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms] domestically is no attempt at common ground; it is asking abstinence educators to compromise what they know to be true. It will never happen," said Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

The organization issued a call via e-mail the following day: “Now is the time for abstinence supporters around the globe to unite to fight!” The Abstinence Clearinghouse has launched its own “war room” to promote “good press” starting with a series of guidance articles on “Why Words Matter!” The articles are available only to carefully screened members.

In addition, the Abstinence Clearinghouse is collecting names of members of academia who are pro-abstinence and pro-sex education. “By providing such names and reputations on its Web site, the Clearinghouse will provide its affiliates with the ability to research members of the academic community for help or aid with questions and ideas.”

Busy staff members are also recruiting articulate youth committed to abstinence until marriage for a new National Youth Policy Council: “Members of the council may communicate with members of Congress on various issues pertaining to abstinence and may be called upon to meet with national leaders on occasion.” For example, presidential political advisor Karl Rove is pictured socializing with Abstinence Clearinghouse leaders on their Web site.

"Let's Get REAL Instead"

Meanwhile, on February 10th Representative Barbabra Lee (D-CA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) formally introduced the Responsible Education About Life (formerly the Family Life Education Act) - which has the acronym the REAL Act. The bill promotes comprehensive, balanced, skills-based sexuality education. The language in the bill is the same as the House bill from the last two sessions, except that the funding level is tied to the abstinence-only-until-marriage funding level, i.e. "parity." The School Health Education and Services (SHES) section has requested that our name be added to the list of endorsers.

Reviewers Wanted!

Attention all SHES members!

Please volunteer to review a few abstracts for the APHA Annual Meeting Nov. 5-9, 2005 in New Orleans. In order to provide another great program, we need people to review approximately 12 abstracts. Our SHES Section is very popular in that we have a disproportionate number of submissions compared to the size of our Section! To ensure we are choosing the most appropriate abstracts, we need at least three people to review each submission. It’s quick and easy to do! The process only requires reading the abstract, scoring it according to clear criteria and making brief comments if you wish. All work is done online.

By reviewing some abstracts you can provide an important service and become more involved in the SHES Section, gain confidence in submitting your own abstracts and see what other health professionals are working on around the country.

Please contact Terry Wessel, SHES Program CHAIR, at <> if you want to be included as a reviewer or have any questions.

Action for Healthy Kids Release Reports

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) has released "The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools," a special report that reveals how the excessive rise in poor nutrition, inactivity and weight problems is adversely affecting academic achievement and possibly costing schools millions of dollars each year.

While The Learning Connection cautions that more research is needed to understand the link between poor nutrition, physical inactivity, weight problems and academic achievement, it makes a strong case that these factors have an adverse affect on academic performance. The report also cites hidden costs to schools due to health problems caused by poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

The report calls on schools to work with partners to take immediate action to address the issue, and points to current best practices in schools, school districts and states. It was made possible through the support of the National Football League and help from Partner Steering Committee members, State Team members and Board members. Access the full report at: <>.

Another report AFHK released this fall, "Criteria for Evaluating School Based Approaches to Increasing Good Nutrition and Physical Activity," defines a set of standard criteria for creating and evaluating school-based approaches for improving nutrition and physical activity. In order for schools to implement best practices, they must know what works under what conditions. These criteria can be applied to a broad range of practices, policies and programs to measure their potential effectiveness and adoptability.

AFHK enlisted the help of 31 experts from 27 national organizations and government agencies representing education decision-makers, teachers, government officials, higher education, nutrition, school foodservice, school health, minority populations, community leaders, parents and students. The expert panel identified two levels of criteria: Essential Criteria (the core standards that all approaches should meet) and Critical Criteria (that rate how easily an approach can be implemented).

In addition to the Essential and Critical Criteria, the expert panel generated a list of incentives that their stakeholders feel are important, such as providing support for teacher training, having an initiative recognized by the school or in media coverage and positively linking an approach to achievement.

The full report of the project, including a reproducible evaluation form, is available at: <>.

This report was made possible through a grant from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the hard work and dedication of Partner Steering Committee and State Teams members who served on the Expert Panel. For more information, visit <>.

SHES Section Member News

We would love to post the great things our members are doing. Please forward me (Carl Hanson, <>) a paragraph on who is doing what, and I will include it in the newsletter. For example:

-Susan R. Opas, PhD, CPNP, CHES, CHES Section Past Council Member, will be presenting at the California School Nurse Organization's 55th Annual State Conference, "Unity in Diversity: Health is the Connection," being held at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, CA, on Friday, Feb. 4 - The topic is ADHD:Working Towards Best Results.

Student Abstract Winner

Jennifer Burden receives the Outstanding Student Abstract Research Award, November 2004
Jennifer Burden was the 2004 Outstanding Student Research Award winner and received her award at the APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

How is a student winner chosen? In the following article, Jim Bogden has outlined the process for reveiwing student abstracts:

The process used for evaluating student abstracts is very straightforward. First, student abstracts are rated by a panel of reviewers using the same criteria used for all other abstracts. Reviewers cannot tell if an abstract was submitted by a student or not.

When the review period closes, the program planner identifies the abstracts submitted by students (which have accounted for about one-sixth of the total in recent years). The reviews of these abstracts are downloaded from APHA's online program planning system into a Word file, in order of their overall score, and distributed among the members of our student award committee.

Usually, the abstract with the highest review score will also be chosen as the best, but not necessarily. For example, the 2004 award went to the second-scoring abstract because the author had investigated a unique population. The innovativeness of the research project gained the admiration of the award committee.

We don't award a set number of honorable mentions - last year there was a gap between the two best abstracts and a bunched-up group of runners-up, so we gave only one honorable mention. In another year we might give two or three.

As to the program assignments, we no longer segregate out student abstracts into distinctly labeled sessions. Student papers are placed into the program according to topic, and every year a number of student abstracts earn oral session slots strictly according to merit. A little bit of preference nudge is sometimes given to students when it comes time to assemble the poster sessions, but not much. The quality of student abstracts is generally high - our rejection rate of student abstracts is less than the overall rejection rate.

The only challenging part of the process is to ensure that the award winners did in fact do the research as part of student work. The abstract submission process has been steadily tweaked to help identify current students. Nevertheless, we have had a number of cases where abstract submitters have falsely claimed to be students, which we charitably assume is due to innocent confusion. We have learned that it is essential to be clear about your eligibility criteria and then follow up with the designated winners to ensure they meet that criteria. For our section, we say that the research had to have been conducted as part of a degree program (e.g., for a class, internship or a dissertation) but it's OK if the student has since finished the degree program and is no longer a current student.

The award itself is presented by the Section Chair immediately following the student's presentation. We used to make the presentations at the Section Business Meeting, but those meetings are generally attended only by Section officers due to their inconvenient timing. We currently give a plaque and $200 to the winner, as well and honorable mention certificates.

We have found it advantageous to invite authors of the previous year's best student abstracts to be reviewers the following year.

We consider the practices of encouraging student abstracts, giving awards, and inviting students to be reviewers to be valuable recruitment tools for the Section.

Award-Winning Booth!!

SHES Booth 
Award-Winning SHES Booth at the 2004 National Convention
The SHES booth received a 3rd place recognition at the recent APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Section Council members Fred Peterson and Rachel Peters were responsible for the new design and ultimately for the award. Thank you, Fred and Rachel, for your great work this year in helping put SHES "on the map!"