Through multi-sector and school-connected approaches, we advance policies, systems, and environments to build and sustain strategies that bridge health and learning for all students.
We envision a society where school and community environments foster health and opportunities for all students to thrive. Bridging health and education to create a coordinated approach to both, the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) is an established thought leader, convener, and facilitator of student wellness, positive development, and school success in our local community and across the country.
Guided by public health frameworks, CHHCS emphasizes the importance of prevention and the promotion of health in developing equitable educational and developmental environments, and the systemic factors in sustaining these approaches. We recognize that health encompasses physical, mental, and social wellbeing and understand that children’s ecosystems (such as family, teachers, community, and environment) impact their health. Therefore, we promote multi-sector and school-connected partnerships to build and sustain policies, systems, and environments that span health and learning. We provide research, evaluation, consultation, and capacity building/technical assistance to state, district, and local leaders invested in improving children’s overall health and school success.
Housed within the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, CHHCS is a nonpartisan policy, resource, and technical assistance center with a history of developing cross-sector strategies to break down barriers and improve health and education outcomes for children. Founded in the early 1980s by Julia Graham Lear, a pioneer in the development of school-based health services, and in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHHCS has contributed to the development of innovative school health delivery models—such as school-based health centers—to benefit students in K–12 schools. Dr. Olga Acosta Price, the current director, has continued this legacy by leading the development of holistic approaches to improve student wellbeing in school, such as school mental health systems, sustainability models, and other whole child strategies. CHHCS partners with foundations, government health and education agencies, school districts, and providers both locally and nationally to support their school wellness initiatives.
- Equity: We strive to reduce social and environmental barriers that disproportionately impact vulnerable groups and limit their opportunities to flourish.
- Community-driven Solutions: We recognize that communities are unique and empower them to create, adapt, and implement strategies rooted in their strengths and shared goals.
- Using a Public Health Lens: We base our work on an understanding of the social, behavioral, and environmental factors that drive well-being and the importance of prevention strategies that improve both individual and population-level outcomes.
- Evidence-informed: We utilize available research and best practices to inform our studies and translate this information to provide practical guidance at the local, state, and national level.
- Systems-focused and Sustainable: We assist communities in leveraging partnerships, aligning resources and embedding best practices through policies, procedures, and practices to achieve lasting change.