Rates of poor nutrition and physical inactivity continue to be high and contribute to overweight and obesity among adults, adolescents, and children. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also negatively impacted the social, emotional, and mental well-being of school administrators, staff, and students due to a variety of reasons such as social isolation and stress and anxiety about school closures. These factors offer an opportunity to better support school employees’ physical and mental health, and ultimately contribute to the health of students and their academic success, especially in communities that are underserved, economically marginalized, and disproportionately affected by the pandemic, chronic diseases, and chronic disease risk factors.
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is proposing to leverage over 15 years of experience with school health and over 30 years of experience providing innovative leadership development, policy implementation, and capacity building for community, state, and territorial chronic disease prevention and control/health promotion programs to build on successes and lessons learned, while also engaging key organizations that enhance reach and extend partnerships. Together with Child Trends and Mental Health America (MHA), this proposed project addresses Priority 2 by supporting CDC-funded state education agencies (SEA), districts, schools, and NACDD constituents (i.e., State Health Department chronic disease staff) in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based policies, practices, and programs that support the emotional well-being of students and school staff. Specifically, NACDD will employ a request for assistance process to engage cohorts of up to two to four SEAs and up to five local education agencies (LEA) annually that represent communities with evidence of health and educational disparities and priority groups including racial and ethnic minorities, students receiving free and/or reduced lunch, and persons with disabilities. NACDD will convene an eight-member National Technical Assistance Partnership, made up of national and state school health and emotional well-being experts, to inform the development and delivery of professional development (PD) and training and technical assistance (T/TA); dissemination of evidence-based tools and resources; and implementation of evidenced-based school health policies, practices, and programs using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework. Each cohort will experience a five-step, two-phased process over the course of an estimated 18-24 months that involves assessing, learning, planning, implementing, and evaluating. Subsequent project years will leverage evaluation outputs to
expand and grow PD and T/TA opportunities, dissemination efforts (e.g., Thought Leader Round Table), the Training of Trainers (ToT) cadre, and policy efforts.
This proposal details the approach of NACDD, Child Trends, MHA, and other key partners to increase the use of evidence-based tools and resources, and increase the adoption and implementation of evidence-based school health policies, practices, and programs. The work of NACDD and partners will result in enhanced and/or increased supports for the physical, mental, and behavioral health of students and school staff in communities of greatest need.
Five-Year Project Reach: Up to 10 SEAs and up to 25 LEAs