Abstract Guidelines

Links below will take you to their respective section.


  • Abstracts may be submitted for 60-minute presentations, 30-minute presentations, poster sessions, and roundtables.
  • The selection process will be highly competitive. Please submit your best proposals.
  • Abstracts must address one of the following themes or tracks:

1) School Health:  Administration, Coordination and Leadership (AC&L)

Session proposals should focus on successful and innovative strategies that support healthy schools. Proposals may address innovative strategies or resources to support healthy schools; health and academic achievement; program management; advocacy; fiscal management and funding; policy development and implementation; program evaluation; community collaboration; family engagement; model programs and best practices; addressing culture and diversity; working with school boards and policy makers; and/or sustainability. Proposals may address these issues at the local, state, national, or international levels.

2) School Health: Programs and Services (P&S)

Session proposals should focus on the innovative delivery of programs and services that support a Whole Child approach to health and learning in PreK-12 settings. Suggested areas of interest include school nursing services; medical services/school physicians; school-based and linked health centers; school counseling and mental health services; school and community social services; school food services and nutrition services; community-based partnerships for healthcare; Medicaid reimbursement; 504 plans; services to students with disabilities and IDEA; after school programs; managing chronic health conditions in the school setting; employee wellness; mental health promotion; and/or legal issues related to the implementation of school-based care systems.

3) School Health: Research and Emerging Issues (R&EI)

Session proposals should focus on research studies that impact and inform members of the school health team and the delivery of programs, services, and instruction in PreK-12 settings. Proposals may address research findings of local, state, national, or international significance. Emerging issues proposals should focus on research that requires further study or topics that warrant more in depth research. All research presentations must be delivered by an investigator integral to the research.

4) School Health: Teaching and Learning (T&L)

Session proposals shall focus on health education and physical education instruction in PreK-12 school settings or the university-based preparation of individuals for school-based health education and physical education instruction. The focus shall be on best practices, research-based programs, and instructional strategies as well as assessment, the use of technology in the classroom, and interdisciplinary learning aligned with the Common Core and National Standards.

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In addition, all proposals must align to one or more of ASHA’s Core Beliefs:

Core Belief 1: Health and learning are directly linked and essential to the development of healthy, resilient citizens.  Academic success is an excellent indicator of the overall well-being of youth and a primary predictor of adult health outcomes. This belief addresses the issue of disparities and the achievement gap and offers solutions.

Core Belief 2: Schools are uniquely positioned to help students acquire healthy habits for a lifetime.  Schools prepare students to be college and career ready, which includes being a health literate adult. Health curricula should be science-based, medically-accurate, aligned with the National Health Education Standards, taught by highly-qualified professionals, and focused on healthy living skills.

Core Belief 3: A coordinated school health (CSH) approach is the most effective and efficient means of promoting healthy citizens. The CSH approach creates a system to support student academic achievement, eliminates gaps, and reduces redundancies across initiatives and funding streams through appropriately licensed and certified disciplines.

Core Belief 4: School health professionals should be highly-qualified and practice evidence-based health and education strategies. The need for undergraduate and graduate training in health education and the need for certified, licensed or state-endorsed professionals is addressed in this belief and supported through the Healthy People 2020 objectives.

Core Belief 5: Schools should be safe, nurturing environments that facilitate learning for all. School climate, school connectedness and a caring and safe learning environment promote student success and teacher retention through parent and community partnerships, policies and practices.

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  • All sessions are limited to one primary presenter and no more than four secondary presenters. ASHA will officially correspond with only the primary presenter. It is the primary presenter’s responsibility to communicate all conference information in a timely manner to any and all secondary presenters.
  • Be sure that your session title clearly describes exactly what the session is about and is no more than ten words using 100 characters in total. ASHA reserves the right to edit session titles.
  • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms that don’t clearly explain the session’s content.
  • Use active verbs to describe exactly what will occur in the session. Examples include words such as describe, discuss, role-play, and present.
    • Better Example: Participants will be able to analyze school health data from Source A, Source B, and Source C and describe how the data might impact student achievement.
    • Poor Example: Participants will learn about school health data.
  • Describe specific presentation techniques that you will be using—such as interactive, lecture, or multimedia—so that participants will know what kind of session they will be attending.
  • Indicate whether handouts will be available. Describe what you will be doing in the session and what the participants can expect to leave with.
  • Write in complete sentences. Do not use phrases. Pay attention to grammar and spelling.
  • Limit your description to 250 words or less. ASHA reserves the right to edit session descriptions.
  • With the exception of lesson plans under “Teaching and Learning”, ASHA does not accept attachments or additional documentation to support the submission provided.
  • You must submit a proposal to the ASHA abstract management system by the deadline to be considered. No email or phone submissions will be accepted.

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All proposals for sessions submitted for the Annual Conference are blind peer reviewed and rated by the members of the Conference Planning Committee. Questions reviewers will consider when evaluating proposals include:

  • Content:  The content is science-based, accurate, and up-to-date.
  • Inclusive:  The abstract is developmentally appropriate, culturally competent, and bias-free
  • Contribution:  The abstract is significant, relevant, and innovative.
  • Interactivity:  The presentation actively involves the participants.
  • Outcomes:  The outcomes discussed are clear, appropriate and data-driven.
  • Feasibility/Generalizability:  The abstract is practical for use in a classroom setting, generalizable to a larger population, and/or feasible in a typical school/community environment.
  • Core Beliefs:  The presentation aligns with ASHA vision, mission, and core beliefs rather than promoting a specific program, service, or belief that does not align with ASHA’s core beliefs.
  • ACL & PS ONLY-Multidisciplinary:  Promotes involvement of and coordination with multiple components of the WSCC model.
  • REI ONLY -Appropriateness:  Are the analyses and conclusions appropriate and based on data?
  • T&L ONLY-Standards: Is the strategy or program aligned with the National Health Education Standards?

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Depth, Not Breadth: It is common to attempt to squeeze too much content into a session – thus creating a presentation that is rushed and too broad. As you decide on session content, take time to determine what is most essential and expand upon these topics with new layers of depth. In addition, it can be a challenge to find the right balance of difficulty level; however participants generally prefer to be challenged over being bored.

Balance: Look to provide a balance in the session between theory/current research/ and applied skills. Research and theory are essential and provide context but participants are often most interested in taking home new skills.

Engage: Knowing your topic is not enough. Look to design a session that engages participants with a well-paced mixture of learning activities including lecture, demonstration, activities, audiovisual, and humor.  Adults learn best when they are actively involved in the session.

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  • Do not submit a proposal unless you can present your session any time during the Annual Conference.
  • All presenters must pay the conference registration fee and have a registration badge.
  • With the exception of keynote speakers, ASHA does not pay an honorarium or expenses for anyone presenting at the Annual Conference
  • When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to complete a disclosure statement. Failure to do so will remove your proposal from consideration.  If you or your organization sells programs, products, or services (including independent or freelance consulting services), please make sure you indicate that on your disclosure statement.
  • Persons presenting at the ASHA conference are expected to use material and language that do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

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