Category Archives: Health Leadership, Education, and Training
One in five children in the United States has a learning or attention challenge, often undiagnosed. Those challenges can contribute to kids falling behind in their classes or even dropping out of school. That’s not just an education problem. As the National Prevention Strategy from the Office of the Surgeon General shows, education deficits lead to shorter lives, poorer health and smaller incomes.
Recently, the Ad Council launched a series of radio, television and display public service announcements aimed at getting parents to go to Understood.org. The website is a collaboration of fifteen education and community partners that offers parents resources such as recommendations for trained area experts and tools parents can use to help their children with a range of learning challenges, including reading skills and comprehension.
The television ads show parents speaking commands into a smartphone, which mistakes their words and directs them to useless information—a proxy, and a pretty good one, for the frustration children facing learning challenges often feel.
- View a NewPublicHealth infographic on the connections between education and health.
- View the “Understood” videos.
This week, NewPublicHealth will run a series on new and creative public health campaigns that aim to improve the health of communities across the country through the use of public service announcements, infographics and more. Stay tuned to learn more about a new campaign each day.
It’s no secret that getting a better education is linked to having a longer, healthier life. But the flip side is also true: Habitual truancy—an excessive number of unexcused absences from school by a minor—has been identified as an early warning sign that kids could be headed toward delinquency; substance use and abuse; social isolation; early sexual intercourse; suicidal thoughts and attempts; and dropping out of high school, according to a 2009 report prepared for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
That’s why Hawaii’s Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project and the College of Education, University of Hawaii, launched a series of public service advertisements (PSAs) to try to inspire kids to stay in school. The 30-second spots emphasize that school is where kids’ dreams grow; that education is a gift; and that teachers, families and students are together accountable for kids’ learning.
Meanwhile, New York City launched the School Every Day Campaign to fight truancy, informing parents that students who miss 20 days of school or more in a single year have a significantly decreased chance of graduating from high school. The outdoor ads—created with support from the Ad Council and AT& T—address a hot topic, considering that one out of five public school students in New York City miss that much school in a given year.
Messages such as these really can make a difference. In 2006, the public school graduation rate in Spokane, Wash., was less than 60 percent; by 2013, it had leaped to nearly 80 percent, thanks largely to the “Priority Spokane” campaign. A 2014 winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize, the campaign emphasizes education as a catalyst for better health and brighter futures.
“We’re using educational attainment as a lens for improving health,” said Alisa May, executive director of Project Spokane. “We’re beginning to see real signs of success in our work.”
Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn agrees: “Spokane County’s focus on educational success and other areas is improving the health of our children. Healthy children become healthier students and adults, and everything we are doing now gives them the foundation they need to succeed after they graduate.”
Earlier this year, Spokane County, Wash.,was chosen by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as a Culture of Health Prize winner for its efforts to improve community health by increasing graduation rates. As part of a new ongoing series, Health Affairs blog has featured a piece by local Spokane leader Ben Smith on the community’s health successes.
Just eight years ago, the high school graduation rate for Spokane Public Schools was below 60 percent and 18 percent of the county’s students lived in poverty. In addition, the students who did attend college or technical school often failed to earn their degree, leaving them unprepared to fill available positions in the county’s more technical fields.
To address these issues, Priority Spokane emerged from a collaboration of local businesses, educators, health organizations and community nonprofits—all committed to improving the future of Spokane County residents by improving education. A report linking lack of education to poorer health helped spur a dramatic change. Over the next several years, the county emphasized increased collaboration and a clear vision to improve the high school graduation rate to 79.5 percent overall.
Spokane County’s efforts include:
- Training teachers and childcare workers to mentor children who experience traumatic home events.
- Developing an early warning system for at-risk students.
- Establishing community attendance support teams that reengage truant students in school.
- Starting Spokane Valley Tech, a high school designed to help students build careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
To learn more about Spokane’s prize-winning efforts to improve health, read the Health Affairs blog post.
>>Bonus Content: Watch a NewPublicHealth video on Spokane's efforts to build a Culture of Health.
During this week’s Spotlight: Health at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, will be talking about the future of academic medicine. The topic has received a great deal of attention recently, including a white paper from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and a pilot program from the American Medical Association (AMA) to give $1 million each to eleven medical schools redesigning their teaching programs—many of which include a focus on prevention, wellness and population health.
Teamwork is a recent and critical emphasis at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, said Cosgrove in a conversation with NewPublicHealth ahead of the Aspen conference.
“When a lot of us went to medical school we were all taught to be rugged individuals, and so [now] we’re trying to teach teamwork...at the very beginning of health care education,” he said. To that end, instruction at the medical school now emphasizes team-based learning and the students will begin doing some of their work with nursing and dental students in the same physical facility “so we begin to break down the silos that are going on right now and encourage team play.”
The 11 medical schools that received the recent AMA grants were chosen from among 119 schools that submitted proposals. “Their bold, transformative proposals [are] designed to close the gaps between how medical students are trained and how health care is delivered,” said former AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, when the AMA awarded the grants last year. Among the winners:
- The Alpert Medical School of Brown University, which has proposed establishing a dual MD-MS degree program in primary care and population health. A clerkship during the third year of medical school will integrate care of the individual patient and population health, and the fourth year will include population health course content and require a Master's thesis. The admissions process will include required interviews with stakeholders and patients.
- The University of California-Davis School of Medicine is partnering with Kaiser Permanente to create the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program, which will require all students to work in the Kaiser Health system so that they can learn by experiencing the patient-centered medical home model. Changes to curriculum include population management, chronic disease management, quality improvement, patient safety, team-based care and preventive health skills, with a special emphasis on diverse and underserved populations.
The eleven schools won’t be working in silos, either. Susan Skochelak, MD, the AMA’s group vice president for medical education, told NewPublicHealth that the initiative was designed “very specifically to bring the schools together in a consortium, because we wanted to disseminate the best practices rapidly.”
In Shasta County, Calif., the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency is using a County Rankings & Roadmaps grant to realize the “Shasta Promise,” which helps young people in the community prepare for success in any post-secondary school option so that they can obtain high-skill, high-income jobs that will yield long-term health benefits.
High poverty rates, low educational attainment and lack of employment opportunities are among the factors that make Shasta one of the least healthy counties in California. Only 19.7 percent of Shasta County’s adult population age 25 or older has a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30.2 percent statewide. The goal of Shasta Promise is to increase awareness of and preparedness for post-secondary education. The program provides students in middle school, high school and college with the guidance and support they need to overcome barriers to pursuing higher education, and encourages a culture of college attendance among county residents.
To accomplish this, the county is implementing a newly-established College and Career Readiness Strategic Plan:
- School leaders and counselors are being provided with a training curriculum and sessions to help them get students ready for college.
- Parent focus groups are being convened to inform the development of an engagement plan between the schools and families.
- Written policies are being developed for local colleges to accept all county students who meet enrollment requirement.
- An agreement is being secured from Southern Oregon University to charge in-state tuition for Shasta County students who are admitted.
NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Charlene Ramont, a public health policy and program analyst with the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency, and Tom Armelino, Shasta County’s Superintendent of Schools, about the Shasta Promise.
NewPublicHealth: What is the mission of the project?
Charlene Ramont: Our aim is to give every student, every option. We want all students, when they graduate from high school, to be prepared for all options post high school. When they graduate, they need to be prepared to join the military if they so choose, they need to be prepared to go to college if they so choose, they need to be prepared to go to a trade school or a certificate program.
>>NewPublicHealth continues a new series to highlight some of the best public health education and outreach campaigns every month. Submit your ideas for Public Health Campaign of the Month to info@newPublichealth.org.
With only nine percent of current college students actively choosing teaching as a career, the Ad Council has launched a new PSA series to help recruit more students to join the ranks of educators. The need is critical. The worry: Half of all teachers are eligible to retire in the next decade, according to Ad Council research, leaving the potential for critical shortages for trained professionals across the United States.
Education is not just a rung to the best job possible—research shows that education is also critical for improving the health of individuals and communities. An infographic created last year by NewPublicHealth to showcase the goals of the National Prevention Strategy—a strategic plan across federal agencies to improve U.S. population health—illustrated key links between education and health, including:
- Each additional year of schooling represents an 11 percent increase in income
- The more years of education a mother attains, the more likely her infant is to survive and thrive
Some of the taglines of the PSA series, designed to appeal to both students and mid-career professionals, include:
- I’m a teacher, I make more
- You don’t need to be famous to be unforgettable
- You wanted to be a teacher when you were 12 years old; it’s time to put it back on your list
Much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office—in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. To improve the health of all Americans, our communities need leadership and action beyond health care providers. Throughout the United States, organizations led by innovative and action-oriented leaders are making the difference.
NewPublicHealth spoke with Maya Rockeymoore, MA, PhD, director of Leadership for Health Communities (LHC), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about their efforts to make communities healthier places to live through leadership development. The program is designed to support local and state policy-makers in their efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods.
NewPublicHealth: From your experience as director of Leadership for Health Communities, what does it mean to have a healthy community?
Maya Rockeymoore: It means that the environment in which you live supports your health and wellness over a lifetime. So that means you’ve got clean air, clean water, safe places to get physical activity, an environment that is actually built and structured to support your ability to get to places by walking or biking or certainly mass transit. Healthy communities are ones where you can access fresh foods affordably and the total environment is violence free. It’s safe. The total environment supports the individual’s health and wellness. That is a healthy community.
NPH: How do you foster champions for obesity prevention among policy-makers?