American School Health Association Conference

ASHA's new identity!

ASHA's new identity!

I took full advantage of being back in Portland for the third time in 3 months, this time at the American School Health Association Conference. Being that I just moved from there to Kentucky less than a year ago, there were plenty of people to connect with, but I focused on my own professional development and networking while in downtown Portland.

I was asked by Linda Morse, President of ASHA and Lee Lowery, ASHA Transition Director and ED, to facilitate the First Timers session early this morning. Cindy Symons was unable to facilitate it this year, but it is something she has done for years and is highly valued. As an organization, it is essential that people attending the conference for the first time feel connected, knowledgeable and informed on all the opportunities over the couple of days! It was very well attended and people were genuinely engaged. Thanks for the opportunity ASHA!

Group dinner!

Group dinner!

School Health Research: 2014 Updates from CDC
Lisa Barrios, Holly Hunt and Nancy Brener presented information from the School Health Branch and DASH around current findings, future plans and access to school-based surveillance, research and evaluation activities supported and conducted at CDC. This workshop was full of so much information, but so important to know what’s going on in the school health world. If you missed this workshop and you are attending ASHA, visit CDCs booths in the exhibit hall!

I also attended the Effective School-Based Partnerships for Mental Health Promotion and Intervention and heard from 3 different SBHCs in Oregon doing work around behavioral health. Portland State University is partnering with Hillsboro SBHC around their trauma- informed care initiative and how can they build a SBHC around behavioral health needs.

We know if a child is healthy, h/she more likely to learn.
— Dr. Wayne Giles, Director, Division of Population Health, CDC

I attended the session on the new CDC/ASCD- WSCC Model (Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child). Theresa Lewallen from ASCD and Dr. Giles from CDC discussed the importance of a model that communicated health and education working together. The new model, built off the 8 components of Coordinated School Health separates family engagement and community involvement & also physical environmental and social/emotional climate. Community is big part of the model, with the child in the middle.

Early morning walkers! In the rain!

Early morning walkers! In the rain!

One of the highlights was leading the 3 mile loop on the Portland Waterfront Esplanade. We had about a dozen tough ASHA-ites join me at 6am (in the dark) in the rain, including John Henry-Ledwith from ETR Associates! What a great way to continue networking and get to know a few more people. We had quite a few first timers join, which I love!

I facilitated a new workshop/session I've never shared before and it went really well. It was on Creating Lasting School Health Programs and I'd say I had about 50 people in the room on Saturday morning. I kept participants engaged by doing a modified jigsaw activity (teaching strategy) incorporating physical activity to not only keep them on task and interested, but increasing the probability of them remembering some of my key points. 

About 15 of us walked down Broadway and had a great dinner at local restaurant Saucebox followed by doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts, a Portland establishment!

Michael Ralls, Mark Pinder and me.

Michael Ralls, Mark Pinder and me.

The keynote was given by Mark Pinder and Michael Ralls, principal and assistant principal, respectively. They have both been close colleagues and friends of mine over the years and I was incredibly proud of the school health initiatives they have accomplished at Milwaukie High School in Milwaukie Oregon. They have a state of the art School Based Health Clinic, offering physical, mental health and dental services to youth. They discussed how to work with schools and how schools can work with agencies. The goals of Milwaukie's student population is for students to be both physically and mentally healthy, not be hungry, feel safe at school, achieve at a high level, be ready for college and career, be able to contribute to their community. Notice how the first 3 are related to health? That is because our youth need those in place in order to obtain the others. Kudos to these two super start administrators for being role models of the school health movement for many other administrators around the country!

Finally, what's a trip to Oregon without a hike in the gorge? Two members of the Kentucky #KYCSH team, Jamie Sparks, Stephanie Bunge and I drove out to the Columbia Gorge. We hiked Latourell Falls and also did a quick stop at the amazing, but incredibly-packed-with-people Multnomah Falls.

Jamie Sparks and Stephanie Bunge from #KYCSH at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

Jamie Sparks and Stephanie Bunge from #KYCSH at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

Rest of the conference was great, filled with other informative sessions and one of the most important aspects of the conference from my perspective, networking! See you all next year in Orlando FL, October of 2015!