As we approach the end of another year, transition is happening all around us. There are the obvious things that happen every year at this time, like moving from fall to winter and picking out a new wall calendar for next year—will it be dogs or nature scenes in 2017, I wonder? Then, there are the things we can all be grateful for, like taking down campaign signs and putting up holiday decorations.
ASHA is also preparing for transition, soon we will welcome a few new members to our Board of Directors and continue work on a refreshed three-year strategic plan. In the new year, there will be new committee assignments and more to come on ASHAs exciting Networking Communities. Yes, there is a lot of transition; but one upcoming change stands out above them all…you know the one. In just a few weeks, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Regardless of how you voted, or your feelings about the outcome, we can all be certain that this change will result in new or revised federal policies, many of which will likely impact how schools and healthcare systems operate.
It seems like every day we’re hearing another announcement about a Trump cabinet nominee. We already know about the top posts for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, but there are many nominations yet to come. As we learn more about how Mr. Trump plans to fill critical roles in his administration, we’ll know more about what the future of school health policy at the federal level might look like. As it is, there are still many unknowns.
It is important for school health professionals to prepare for those unknowns that will come in the next four years. As such, I would like to invite everyone who is reading this to weigh in. I certainly don’t want to invite divisive political banter, but I do think it is important for the school health community to discuss how we will keep our issues at the forefront. The President-Elect has made it well known that he plans to tackle a wide range of issues such as immigration, jobs, healthcare, and economic growth among others. Where does school health fit in? The incoming First Lady has hinted that cyber-bullying would one of her top priorities, but that’s a far cry from the wide range of issues that schools deal with every day. I’m asking everyone who is reading this to take a couple minutes to click the reply button below and respond to one of these questions:
- What opportunities exist to promote a school health agenda over the next four years?
- How do we ensure that health promotion and education remain a priority in our new political climate?
- Will current federal school health initiatives continue? How will we fill the gap if critical programs and services face the chopping block?
- How will we come together as a community when policies don’t go our way, how will we celebrate when they do?
I plan to monitor replies over the next week or so, and look forward to joining the conversation as well. I hope that the ideas and thoughts we generate together will inspire renewed energy and excitement about school health. Together, we can transform all schools into places where every student learns and thrives!