Education is the path out of poverty for millions of American children, but a health crisis in the classroom is standing in their way.
A child who's been awake all night with an asthma attack can't focus on algebra. A child who can't see the blackboard can't keep up in spelling. Untreated health problems like these are epidemic in low-income communities, keeping children from achieving their dreams.
The Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative is designed to tackle health problems where kids feel their impact the most—in schools across the nation. We need to change the odds for disadvantaged kids to give every child a chance to succeed.
Children's Health Fund is launching school-based pilot programs in New York City in Fall 2014 that will demonstrate what can be done with robust and systematic screening and management of health-related barriers to learning. Designed to last three to five years, the pilots will be rigorously evaluated all along the way. Specially trained health coordinators will follow evidenced-based protocols to connect children with the care and services they need. With our National Network, Children's Health Fund is also ideally positioned to address health barriers to learning in schools across the country.
To build the Healthy and Ready to Learn Initative, the Children's Health Fund senior management team has been expanded to include:
Dr. Charles Basch is out to break down the walls between education and health care. As Professor of Health and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, he has spent years exploring the connection between student health and educational achievement and has come to see them as two sides of the same coin. Chuck, as his colleagues know him, has joined Children’s Health Fund to help design our new Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative.
Phoebe Browne brings an extensive background in community health, school health and public education to the program. Among other experiences, she has worked with New York Presbyterian's school-based health network and on joint initiatives of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Child Health and the Office of School Health in the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
"Teachers know that if students can't see the whiteboard, they will have trouble learning," writes the Journal's Lisa Fleisher, covering the release of the Children's Health Fund report "Crisis in the Classroom: How Untreated Medical Problems Are Seen to Interfere With School Performance," which was based on research conducted in collaboration with the New York City Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the city's union of school principals. The article discusses the burden of untreated health care problems on city students, quoting both Children's Health Fund co-founder and president Irwin Redlener, MD, and New York City's head of school health, Roger Platt.
The New York Times columnist tells the story of Johnny Wethee, a child who was born deaf in rural West Virginia. His hearing disability wasn't recognized until he was 18 months old. Now three, Johnny is bright, curious and healthy, but may face permanent deficits in his language development. Kristof quotes Children's Health Fund president and co-founder Irwin Redlener, MD on the harm done by health barriers to learning, and calls for interventions to ensure children like Johnny don't fall through the cracks.
Teachers, school administrators, and our health care providers across the country agree: treatable illnesses like asthma and tooth decay are sabotaging children's success in school—especially in low-income communities. This video describes the problem and discusses strategies for ensuring children everywhere in America are healthy and ready to learn.
It's the middle of the night, and once again Brian is wracked with coughing and wheezing. His asthma attacks are keeping him up—and the lack of sleep keeps him from concentrating the next day in school. This dramatic video illustrates the challenges children face from untreated diseases, and shows how Children's Health Fund helps them become healthy and ready to learn.