About ASHA

The American School Health Association was founded as the American Association of School Physicians on October 27, 1927 by 325 physicians at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Cincinnati, Ohio. Original members represented 29 states as well as Canada. The first president of the association was William A. Howe, M.D. from Buffalo, New York. Interest in the association grew so rapidly that in 1936 the association opened its membership to all professionals interested in promoting school health and officially changed its name to The American School Health Association.

ASHA is a multidisciplinary organization made up of administrators, counselors, dietitians, nutritionists, health educators, physical educators, psychologists, school health coordinators, school nurses, school physicians, and social workers. Collectively, ASHA is working to lead efforts to prioritize school-based approaches that promote lifelong health, build a community to support the whole child, and activate champions of school health.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to transform all schools into places where every student learns and thrives.

Vision Statement

We envision healthy students who learn and achieve in a safe and healthy environment nurtured by caring adults functioning within coordinated school and community support systems.

5 Core Beliefs

Our core beliefs encompass five critical components of a healthy school environment designed to support PreK-12 students. We support student-centered, integrated and collaborative approaches that address the needs of the whole child. We believe the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model is the best representation of a truly collaborative approach to health and learning.

Health and learning are directly linked and essential to the development of healthy, resilient citizens.
Schools are uniquely positioned to help students acquire healthy habits for a lifetime.
A coordinated school health approach is the most effective and efficient means of promoting healthy citizens.
School health professionals should be highly qualified and be able to use current theory and research to select and design effective health and education strategies.
Schools should be safe, nurturing environments that facilitate learning for all.

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model

The WSCC model is the recommended framework by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for addressing health in schools. The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement and the importance of evidence-based school policies and practices. We, at ASHA, believe the WSCC model is the best representation of a truly collaborative approach to health and learning. Below are the 10 Components that make up the WSCC Model.
Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Community groups, organizations, and local businesses create partnerships with schools, share resources, and volunteer to support student learning, development, and health-related activities.

Counseling Psychological & Social Services

These prevention and intervention services support the mental, behavioral, and social-emotional health of students and promote success in the learning process.

Employee Wellness

Fostering school employees’ physical and mental health protects school staff, and by doing so, helps to support students’ health and academic success.

Family Engagement

This relationship between school staff and families cuts across and reinforces student health and learning in multiple settings—at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and in the community.

Health Education

Health education, based on an assessment of student health needs and planned in collaboration with the community, ensures reinforcement of health messages that are relevant for students and meet community needs.

Social & Emotional School Climate

The social and emotional climate of a school can impact student engagement in school activities; relationships with other students, staff, family, and community; and academic performance.

Nutrition Environments & Services

Healthy eating has been linked in studies to improved learning outcomes and helps ensure that students are able to reach their potential.

Health Services

Health services connect school staff, students, families, community and healthcare providers to promote the health care of students and a healthy and safe school environment.

Physical Education & Physical Activity

Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence.

Physical Environment

A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff.


ASHA advocates for effective school health strategies that contribute to optimal health and academic outcomes for all children and youth. Support the ASHA Mission, Vision, Goals and Core Beliefs by contributing.