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Partner Spotlight:




November 28, 2016 

Today we talk to an essential communuity school partner, The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) about their work to promote child wellness and school success by partnering with communities to create collaborative solutions. 
CHHCS has a long history of advancing school-connected strategies to improve the well being of K-12 children, particularly vulnerable populations. Since the early 1980s, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Linda Sheriff, Deputy Director for the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools discusses their work. 

1.  Can you explain the overall mission of the CHHCS?

CHHCS strives to promote child wellness and school success by partnering with communities to create collaborative solutions that fit each community’s unique context. We bridge the gap between health and education systems so that kids are happy, healthy and motivated to learn.

 Through research, technical assistance and facilitating collaboration, we advance effective school-connected programs, policies and systems as solutions for improving children’s overall health and success in school. By school-connected, we are referring to preventive activities that are linked to the education system but are not necessarily delivered on site as school-based interventions. Using a public health framework as a guide, CHHCS emphasizes the importance of prevention and the promotion of health, and the systemic factors in sustaining these approaches.

 
2. What milestones has CHHCS already reached or is currently moving towards?

CHHCS has a long history of advancing school-connected strategies to improve the well being of K-12 children, particularly vulnerable populations. Since the early 1980s, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), CHHCS has contributed to the development of the school-based health center model of prevention and care for students in k – 12 schools. In 2006 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched an initiative to help meet the mental health needs of immigrant children and youth. Building on strong community-school partnerships, CHHCS managed the 15 sites funded through Caring Across Communities to help children and their families make their way in a new country.

 The focus of our current and future work has shifted from program implementation to identifying and amplifying the systemic approaches that can be used by schools and communities to improve health and school outcomes for children, as well as to evaluating and sustaining initiatives that are successfully functioning. We partner with foundations, government health and education agencies, school districts and providers across the country to support their school-connected initiatives. To this end, we launched an on-line action guide, Partner Build Grow, which advances this collaborative model and provides stakeholders with practical tools to sustain initiatives, particularly around social and behavioral well-being. We will continue to grow and adapt the site to meet the needs of users.

 

3.  How does CHHCS principles tie into the Community School’s principles and philosophy? How do you see your work fitting into ours?

CHHCS integrates health, education, and family systems by facilitating communication among key experts to drive collective action. Over time, CHHCS has developed a national network of leading stakeholders including researchers, practitioners, funders, and policymakers that work across these areas. CHHCS’s mission centers on helping build school-community partnerships so that children can succeed.  This encompasses the principles and philosophy behind community schools.


4.  What are some exciting things coming up for CHHCS (i.e., events, publications)?

We recently launched four case studies that amplify our collaborative approach: http://actionguide.healthinschools.org/tool-resource/

 
5. How does CHHCS center equity in their agenda?

CHHCS promotes health and school success for ALL children, especially those who are most vulnerable. Whether it be students from low-income or minority communities, children and youth struggling with mental health issues, immigrant and refugee children and their families, or other particularly vulnerable populations, we work to navigate the children’s health and education policy worlds, as well as community partnerships and education systems to ensure that successful initiatives that address the needs of these children are sustained.

 
6. Finally, what is the most exciting thing about working at the CHHCS?

 It is exciting to work at the intersection of health and education and help communities integrate the systems through both national initiatives and individual consulting, Knowing that we are helping people create environments that will benefit children is very rewarding.

4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW  |  Suite 100  |  Washington, DC 20008-2304   |   Tel. 202.822.8405 X111  |  Fax 202.872.4050  |  Email ccs@iel.org
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