Children need to be healthy in order to learn, and a four-year, $12 million grant awarded to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help create a comprehensive program for Head Start communities to promote children’s health, prevent disease and ensure children are on track developmentally.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families has awarded the grant to the AAP to operate the new Head Start National Center on Health. Through the center, the AAP will provide education, training and technical assistance on children’s health to the Head Start community, focusing initially on several priority areas for pregnant women and children from birth to age five:
- Nutrition, physical activity and overweight/obesity prevention
- Developmental and behavioral services
- Injury prevention
- Health literacy
- Oral health
- Asthma prevention
- Tobacco exposure prevention
“Children enrolled in Head Start programs have well-documented challenges to their social, emotional, developmental and physical health, including a higher risk of obesity, asthma and tooth decay,” said O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. “The staff and families at Head Start programs need access to high-quality, scientifically supported health information and support. Ultimately, the center will help ensure that children are healthy, safe and ready for school.”
The center will include the following partners: Education Development Center, Inc; Georgetown University’s Department of Pediatrics’ Center for Child and Human Development; Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute’s National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; the Health Care Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management; and the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The National Center on Health will join the five existing Head Start National Centers. For more information, click here.