The National Coordinating Committee on School Health (NCCSH) met on February 16, 1995, to discuss how consolidation of Federal programs will affect school health. The committee was cochaired by Tom Payzant, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Amanda Manning, Associate Administrator for Food and Consumer Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); and J. Michael McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
All three cochairs expressed that these are challenging times with consolidation and reinvention of government efforts underway, but that the NCCSH must continue to move forward in dealing with school health issues.
The National Safe Kids Campaign previewed the 1995 campaign, SAFE KIDS Check America, to take place May 6-13, 1995. The Family Safety Check, a 10-item checklist outlining how families can make their homes and communities safe, will be distributed to an estimated 2.7 million 3rd to 6th graders. The focus this year is school-based, with other areas of outreach including celebrity endorsements, bicycle rodeos, safety fairs, national and local media coverage, and involvement with the National Governor's Association.
Kate Fothergill of the School Health Policy Initiative described an effort to fill the void for national coordination of technical assistance and advocacy for school-based health services. A meeting will be held June 23-25, 1995, in Washington, DC to identify issues and propose a national structure/organization, tentatively called the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. For more information, contact Ms. Fothergill, (202) 408-7697.
Department personnel presented their perspectives on how consolidation of Federal programs will affect school health. USDA has made strengthening nutrition education a top priority, while Education and DHHS are focusing on preserving the accomplishments made for children during the 103rd Congress, mainly programming affected by the Crime Bill. All three departments will be consolidating. Legislative experts Adele Robinson of the National Association of State Boards of Education and Diane Shust of the National Education Association followed up the Administration's presentations with updates on the latest congressional proposals.
To help implement an NCCSH action plan, proposals were made to develop working groups around health education, infusing health education into teacher preparation, and nutritional issues in the school health setting. Committee members also expressed interest in becoming more involved with promoting the public image of school health programs.
Recommendations were made to the Interagency Committee on School Health, the Federal counterpart of this committee, to set performance standards for paraprofessionals in the school health setting, set up data gathering infrastructure, including materials on training, and broaden the interdisciplinary training and coordination of professionals.
For more information on NCCSH activities, please contact Kristine I. McCoy, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, (202)205-8180.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Association of School Administrators
American Cancer Society
American College Health Association
American Dental Association
American Federation of School Administrators
American Federation of Teachers
American Heart Association
American Indian Health Care Association
American Lung Association
American Medical Association
American Nurses Association
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
American Public Welfare Association
American School Counselor Association
American School Food Service Association
American School Health Association
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Council of Chief State School Officers
The Council of the Great City Schools
National Alliance of Black School Educators
National Association for Asian and Pacific American Education
National Association of City and County Health Officials
National Association of Community Health Centers
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of School Nurses
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Boards of Education
National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations
National Conference of State Legislators
National Education Association
National Governors Association
National Mental Health Association
National Parents/Teachers Association
National School Boards Association
National School Health Education Coalition
Society for Nutrition Education
The paradigm of environmental justice has emerged out of this reality: Minority and low-income populations suffer both disproportionate exposures to environmental hazards in the communities where they live, work, and play, and disproportionate burdens of poor health and disease. Indeed:
Under this paradigm, diversity and the characteristics, values, and norms of groups take on great importance. For example, although overall risk from industrial releases to surface waters may be low, certain groups--specifically subsistence and sports fishers eating large quantities of fish drawn from contaminated water--potentially face higher impacts. Although the current focus is on racial and socioeconomic groups at risk, environmental justice is expanding to encompass geographic, gender, age, international, and intergenerational issues.
The environmental justice movement started at the grassroots level during the 1980s when groups targeted environmental issues in racial minority and low-income communities. For example, Mothers of East Los Angeles protested a proposed incinerator. Regional and national organizations formed to embrace environmental cleanup and conservation activities. After a 2-year study, in 1992 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Equity Workgroup concluded that racial minority and low-income populations are disproportionately exposed to lead, selected air pollutants, hazardous waste facilities, contaminated fish tissue, and agricultural pesticides in the workplace.
Last year President Clinton signed Executive Order 12898 calling for Federal agencies to achieve environmental justice for low-income and minority populations. Activities are expected to include materials development, media relations, and efforts in two-way communication as well as training and technical assistance, research and data collection for assessing risks and health effects by income and race/ethnicity, and the targeting of highest-risk populations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will release its strategy by the end of this year.
Until recently, the principles and practices of risk assessment, management, and communication did not address the cultural and linguistic requirements of environmental justice. Seldom mentioned were race, income, and other characteristics that might influence the distribution of risks and benefits. Often the grassroots, religious, and other organizations in those communities were ignored. Now, as the EPA Workgroup stated, "Any effort to address environmental equity issues must include all segments of society: the affected communities, the public at large, industry, people in policy-making positions, and all levels and branches of government."
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Health Education
Public Health Service
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1600 Clifton Road, Mailstop E33
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404)639-6206; Tim Tinker, Dr.P.H.
Internet: http://atsdr1.ats dr.cdc.gov:8080/atsdrhome.html
Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET)
Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS)
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Internet: http://www-toxnet.nlm.nih.go v
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Public Information Center
401 M Street SW., Room 3404
Washington, DC 20460
(202)260-2080; FAX (202)260-6257
Risk Communication Information Line (publications only)
202-260-5606; Lynn Desautels, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
100 Capitola Drive, Suite 108
Durham, NC 27713
Center for Environmental Communication
Rutgers The State University of New Jersey
P.O. Box 231
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0231
National Association of County and City Health Officials
440 First Street NW., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20001
(202)783-5550; Heidi Klein, Director, Environmental Health Programs and Policies