For Immediate Release: July 30, 2019
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, renee.lang@nasbe.org, 703-740-4841

NASBE Launches Project to Aid States in Improving Adolescent Health Policies

Alexandria, Va. – The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), in partnership with Child Trends and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), has launched the Leadership Exchange for Adolescent Health Promotion (LEAHP). Funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this project advances NASBE’s focus on developing equitable education systems that provide safe and healthy learning environments where all students can thrive and achieve academic excellence.

LEAHP is a learning collaborative of multisector, state-level leadership teams whose goal is to develop state-specific action plans for policy assessment, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation to address adolescent health in three priority areas: sexual health education, sexual health services, and safe and supportive environments. LEAHP state teams consist of at least one lead representative from the state education agency and at least one lead representative of the state health agency. Through collaborative partnerships such as this, state governments maximize results of their collective efforts to benefit all students.

The first cohort of LEAHP—the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin—convened at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hubert H. Humphrey Building on July 16–17, 2019, in Washington, DC. Over the next two years, participants of LEAHP’s first cohort will benefit from in-depth training with subject-matter experts, peer-to-peer collaboration, access to scientific research and data, and concentrated, and state-specific technical assistance.

“Policymaking is stronger when multiple state actors work together toward a common policy goal and engage their communities in the process,” says NASBE President and CEO Robert Hull. “NASBE is excited to partner with Child Trends and NCSD on a project that supports state boards of education, inter-agency staff, and community partners in their efforts to advance locally-driven solutions informed by research, student voice, and model policy development to foster safe and equitable learning environments for all students.”

“I could feel the excitement in the room,” Brandon Stratford, Child Trends Deputy Program Area Director for Education Research. “It was inspiring to see both the health and education sectors coming together and breaking down siloes to support adolescent sexual health. Taking a systems approach can help us coordinate different efforts in areas such as safe and supportive learning environments that will hopefully improve sexual health and other outcomes.”

“With STDs at all-time highs in the U.S., and young people accounting for more than half of all new diagnoses, it’s more important than ever to provide young people with the skills, tools, and resources they need to lead healthier lives,” says David C. Harvey, executive director of NCSD. “LEAHP will play a pivotal role in impacting the health and well-being of our nation’s youth.”

In fall 2019, NASBE, Child Trends, and NCSD will begin to recruit the second cohort of LEAHP, which will convene in Washington, DC, in January 2020. Learn more about LEAHP and opportunities for getting involved by contacting NASBE Senior Policy Associate Megan Blanco.

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.

The development of this resource was supported in part by cooperative agreement CDC-RFA-PS18-1807 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opinions, findings, and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views or official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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