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Addressing Educationally Relevant Health Disparities: The Partnership of Local Health Departments and Public Schools
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Background - An extensive body of literature supports the relationship between health and learning. The identification of educationally relevant health disparities (ERHD) represents a unique opportunity to promote the development of youth in a manner that addresses both health and educational outcomes. Local health departments (LHD) work broadly throughout their communities to address health disparities and are uniquely situated to work with schools within their jurisdiction. Methods - A Web-based survey was designed to assess local health department (LHD) engagement with public schools in activities designed to address ERHD. The survey was implemented among Ohio LHD over 4 weeks during spring of 2013 utilizing Ohio’s Public Health Practice Based Research Network. One response per health department from the health or nursing director was requested (response rate 72%, n=90 of 125). Results – LHD reported greater involvement in activities related to nutrition (61.8%), physical activity (58.4%), and teen pregnancy prevention (53.3%). Less involvement was reported in activities related to asthma (61.8%), attention deficit and hyperactivity (77.3%), school breakfast (65.6%). The presence of a school health coordinator, provision of school nursing services, and diverse funding was significantly associated with collaborative efforts to address ERHD. Approximately 12% of LHD reported no involvement in addressing ERHD in schools. Conclusions - Despite the historic relationship between the fields of education and health, there is variation in collaborative efforts that support both health and academic achievement within the school setting. Collaborative efforts that address ERHD represent a mutually beneficial approaching to achieving improved health and educational outcomes.
Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related research
Describe a process for assessing the role of local health departments in school health.
Identify the role of local health department in addressing educationally relevant health disparities.
Provide recommendations for action and future research related to the role of local health departments in supporting school health.
Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Needs Assessment
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the past 7 years I have served as the Director of Community Initiatives and Assistant Program Director of the Master of Public Health Program at Case Western Reserve University. I am a doctoral candidate in Health Education and Promotion at Kent State University. I have more than 12 years of experience in assessment, program planning, and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.