The Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Health System held its first School Health Symposium, designed to strengthen relationships between the education and health care sectors. Led by Tonya Vidal Kinlow, M.P.A., vice president of Community Engagement, Advocacy and Community, Children’s National welcomed more than 150 regional health and education partners, community members and Children’s National staff to support the mission of helping kids grow up stronger.
In a day of panel discussions and breakout sessions, education, government and health professionals tackled the many societal challenges children face. The panel discussions at this year’s symposium focused on the following topics:
- Caring for the whole child using a trauma-informed approach
- Children’s National regional school-based programs
- Local government role in school health
- How a health system advocates for school health
- How organizations are working with schools to address the social determinants of health
Participants also had the option to attend one of the following breakout sessions:
- Mental wellness & self-care for school and health care professionals
- School-based research: engaging families, empowering students
- How an anchor institution is addressing the social determinants of health
- School health legislation update
Outreach programs focused on strong community partnerships were recognized for serving diverse communities including infants and their caregivers, primary care clinicians, high school students, child care providers and teachers. Three programs were chosen as recipients for the Community Health Improvement Award through an application process where a panel of judges with expertise in public health and policy evaluated against an established criteria set.
“Our Community Health Improvement Awards recognize all efforts to conduct community outreach programs and shape public policies that benefit children and families in the Washington D.C. area,” says Kurt Newman, M.D., president and CEO of Children’s National. “The award also recognizes the physicians and clinicians here at Children’s who go above and beyond to provide quality care to kids and their families.”
This year’s recipients actively play a role in contributing to school health:
- Early Childhood Innovation Network led by Lee Beers, M.D., Medical Director for Municipal and Regional Affairs, Child Health Advocacy Institute
- Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia (IMPACT DC) led by Stephen Teach, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Children’s National
- DC School Based Health Centers led by Lawrence D’Angelo, M.D., M.P.H. and Kathy Woodward-Murray, M.D., adolescent medicine specialists
The School Health Symposium was followed by a networking reception to allow participants an opportunity to connect with colleagues and discuss the sessions.