The United States Departments of Education and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) recently issued a joint policy letter emphasizing the importance of improving school-based health through the use of partnerships between health and education agencies. The Departments’ letter highlighted the critical role of partnerships in “increasing access to health care and quality education that [could] narrow disparities, promote achievement, and build a reliable system of support for every young person.” The letter encouraged education and health stakeholders to work in tandem to:
- increase access to health insurance to promote better academic outcomes;
- create school environments with the physical and mental health supports to help students succeed academically and lead healthy lives; and
- strengthen coordination and collaboration between health and education systems at the local and state levels.
To assist states, local school districts and health agencies in this endeavor, the Departments shared five “high-impact opportunities” to collaboratively address health and education disparties. For each opportunity, the Departments detailed practical action steps and considerations, provided a research-based rationale, highlighted an implementing school district or school and offered links to additional resources and materials.