By John Henry Ledwith | October 14, 2014
There is some real excitement going around in the school health world. I just saw an impressive portion of it first hand at the 2014 American School Health Association (ASHA) conference in Portland, Oregon. This is one of the few places where a national audience of teachers, administrators and academics get together to focus on the future of kids through the vehicle of school health. This remarkable group of people has pumped up the volume and aimed the field towards a new level.
Much of the emphasis at the conference was on the whole child model, an approach which incorporates school and community as well. Speakers challenged participants to think about the ways they can expand their notion of coordinated school health using this model.
There was a genuine feeling of cooperation and enthusiasm at the conference. I am not merely waxing eloquent when I say there was a renewed spirit of collaboration in support of student health.
Lloyd Kolbe, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Applied Health Science at Indiana University School of Public Health, founding Director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent School Health, and a bona fide giant in the field, delivered an inspiring closing keynote. He shared with us a draft of an “Open Letter on the Future of School Health” that will be published in the January edition of the Journal of School Health.
Dr. Kolbe is urging us to create a common vision for school health in this country. He issued a call for action directed at government agencies, schools and non-governmental organizations. What does he want us to do? Create a common vision for school health in this country that delivers the essential knowledge, skills and infrastructure that protect and promote student health.
I was proud to see ETR included in his list of key agencies called to this endeavor. I am invigorated by the challenge, and came back from the conference charged up and ready to move forward. If you’re feeling the excitement too, please consider ETR a partner in your efforts. I hope to see you along the path as we work to realize Dr. Kolbe’s powerful vision.