Global School Health Statement
The following statement was developed out of the first Global School Health Symposium—a multi-level, multi-sectorial discussion involving more than 60 leading education, health, and school health experts from across twenty countries held in Pattaya, Thailand, in 2013. The statement is being discussed at a series of Global School Health Symposia calling for the integration of the Health and Education sectors at the systems level.
- Statement for the Integration of Health and Education in English (PDF)
- Declaración para la Integración de la Salud y la Educación en Español (PDF)
- Instrucção para a Integração da Saúde e Educação em Portugues (PDF)
ASCD and the International School Health Network (ISHN) are now inviting individuals and organizations to sign on to the global school health statement below. To do so, please send an e-mail to Sean Slade, director of outreach and whole child at ASCD, at email@example.com with
- Individual: Name, title, organization or affiliation (optional), city, country
- Organization: Full name of organization/association/ministry, city, country
Statement for the Integration of Health and Education
Schools have always played an important role in promoting the health, safety, welfare, and social development of children. Progress has been made in policy and program effectiveness; however, the perpetuation of establishing initiatives as sector specific—or sector isolated—has affected long-term sustainability of approaches. The global evolution of education systems to suit the needs of the 21st century presents both a need and an opportunity for greater sector integration. Ultimately, there is a need to focus on the development and growth of the whole child and develop better ways to integrate health and social programs within education systems.
Responding to the World Health Organization's Health in All Policies (HiAP) initiative and recent HiAP statement (Helsinki 2013) educational leaders invite the health sector, along with other social sectors, to a dialogue to lead a revised partnership with education that uses a capacity-focused and systems-based approach to embed their school-related efforts more fully into the core mandates, constraints, processes, and concerns of educational systems.
Schools, working in partnership with communities, parents, and agencies have always been an integral part of efforts to promote health, safety, and equity. These school-based and school-linked efforts have evolved into many distinct but overlapping multicomponent approaches. Yet despite significant progress and improved effectiveness, the implementation, maintenance, and sustainability of these multicomponent approaches has been problematic.
Inability to overcome the challenge of maintaining and sustaining these multifaceted approaches has led to this call for a dramatically different approach whereby health and social programs would be truly integrated within the core mandates, constraints, processes, and preoccupations of the education systems. While there have been numerous studies, statements, and reports calling for greater alignment of these two key sectors, what is now clear is that we should not be seeking alignment of health and education, but rather integration of health and social development within education systems.
A deeper analysis of the goals, functions, and current operations of school systems is needed to determine the most practical, pedagogical, and political strategies whereby health and social priorities can be truly embedded within education. This should include dialogue in a variety of cultural, economic, and geographic settings to better understand the various school systems and their contexts. Health and social policies, must be adapted, crafted, and integrated into the policies, processes, and practices of education systems. In short, health must find its cultural anchor within the education system.
Why Seek Integration Within Education Systems?
Health and education are symbiotic. What affects one affects the other. The healthy child learns better just as the educated child leads a healthier life. Similarly, a healthier environment—physically as well as socially-emotionally—provides for more effective teaching and learning.
The health sectors in many jurisdictions have developed strong multifaceted school health programs, particularly when compact geography, unitary governance structures, or strong leadership is in place. However, many other health systems now face significant challenges just to maintain the resources provided to health promotion overall, so their ability to support comprehensive approaches to schools is often reduced or narrowed to a select number of issues.
Yet targets or policies that focus only on one set of outcomes undermine the success and sustainability of interventions. Too often we have seen initiatives that compete with educational outcomes, as opposed to complementing them. Even within the health sector, schools often experience different strategies competing with each other rather than collaborating with or complementing each other. As such, educators and policymakers often view health and other social programs as an "add-on" to their own core responsibilities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the health sector have adopted a position favoring the HiAP initiative. The participants at a recent WHO health promotion conference (Helsinki 2013) issued a formal invitation to all sectors to take up that HiAP initiative. This consensus statement and invitation from educators reciprocates with an invitation to health to integrate within education.
New research on ecological and systems-based approaches to school health promotion and social development now offers new insights and opportunities. This new understanding is congruent with current educational trends and research suggesting that school-based management and other forms of local leadership are ultimately more appropriate to the 21st century. A renewed partnership with education will help to take advantage of this new knowledge and trends.
Considerations for the Health Sector
This statement is an invitation to the health sector to start a dialogue and take subsequent action as part of an overall multisector approach.
- The health sector needs to seek integration within the education system—not education's adoption of health priorities. The health sector must find its cultural anchor within education and integrate its processes and outcomes.
- Health system officials, decision makers, and researchers should examine and better understand via dialogue led or facilitated by educators the core mandates, constraints, attributes, processes, and characteristics of educational systems in order to better integrate within them.
- Health and social sectors join the education sector in focusing on the growth and development of the whole child rather than directing attention and resources only toward specific diseases, behaviors, or conditions as separate or siloed entities. Disease intervention must occur as required but needs to be housed in an overall health and development, or salutogenic, framework, refocusing attention on a settings-based approach.
- This realignment of health and other sector efforts should be based on a systems-based, organizational development approach focused on capacity building and continuous improvement.
Educators around the world invite their colleagues from the health and social sectors to join them in this dialogue that will lead to better integration of health and social programs within education. We strongly suggest that learning more about school systems, their core mandates, ways of operating, constraints and emerging opportunities within a systems-based, organizational development approach that includes a focus on various kinds of capacities at several levels across several systems will lead to more sustainable, comprehensive, and effective approaches and partnerships with educators. The requests made as part of this consensus statement should be seen as an invitation from educators for more engagement, more cooperation, and more success in promoting the health, learning, and development of our young people.
ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
International School Health Network, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
American School Counselor Association, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
American School Health Association, McLean, Virginia, United States
Boundary Family and Individual Service Society, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia School Trustees Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
California School-Based Health Alliance, Oakland, California, United States
Canadian Association of School Psychologists, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Canadian Association of School System Administrators, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Nurses Association, Ottawa, Canada
Canadian School Boards Association, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Educational and School Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Canadian School Boards Association, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Center for Health Education and Health Promotion, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care,The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Education International, Brussels, Belgium
European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), Brussels, Belgium
Global Citizenship Advice and Research, The Hague, Netherlands
Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
Health Practices, Orcines, France
HOPSports, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
LifeCollege, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines
NEA Healthy Futures, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA), Wellington, New Zealand
Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition, Ontario, Canada
Ontario Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
School District 51 (Boundary) Board of Education, British Columbia, Canada
Schools for Health in Europe (SHE), Utrecht, Netherlands
School for Teaching and Education (ESPE) Clermont-Auvergne, Chamalieres, France
School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA), Sumner, Washington
Shape America - Society of Health and Physical Educators (Formerly AAHPERD), Reston, Virginia, United States
Society for Public Health Education, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Center for Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), Quezon City, Phillippines
Special Olympics, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, United States
TNO Youth: Growing Up Healthy, Leiden, Netherlands
Unires (PDF), Chamalieres, France
Dr. Gene R. Carter, Emeritus Executive Director, ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Sean Slade, Director, Whole Child Programs, ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Doug McCall, Executive Director, International School Health Network, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ivy George, Coordinator of Health Promotion Services and National Focal Point NCD's, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Shannon FitzGerald, MS, RD, LD, School District Food Service Director/Dietitian and Owner, FIT KID TEXT, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Erin D. Maughan, PhD, MS, RN, APHN-BC, FAAN, Director of Research, National Association of School Nurses, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Roger P. Weissberg, Chief Knowledge Officer, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Chicago, Illinois, United States
Ester Cole, PhD, C.Psych., School and Counselling Psychologist, Ontario, Canada
Debra Lean, PhD, C.Psych., School and Clinical Psychologist, Ontario, Canada
Yvette Laforêt-Fliesser, RN, MScN, CCHN(C), Community and Public Health Consultant, Edellys Training Corporation, London, Ontario, Canada
Anne O'Brien, President-Elect, Canadian Association of School System Administrators, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
David Hagen Cameron, Research Director, People for Education, Toronto, Canada
Martin Blank, President, Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, EdD, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Stephen R. Sroka, PhD, President, Health Education Consultants, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Lakewood, Ohio, United States
Dr. Liane Comeau, Scientific Advisor, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, and Co-chair of the North-American network of the International School Health Network, Montreal, Canada
Paul Downes, Director, Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick's College, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Naoko Richters, Director, Global Citizenship Advice and Research, The Hague, Netherlands
Nancy Bogers-Moors, MSc, Kunskapsskolan, Hilversum, Netherlands
Peter Paulus, Professor, Center for Applied Sciences of Health (CASH), Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Germany
Babu Mathew, Consultant, Pulari, Cochin, India
Carmen Aldinger, PhD, MPH, Consultant, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Daniel Oberle, Public Health Consultant, Health Practices, Orcines, France
Didier Jourdan, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Teaching and Education, University of Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Donna Allen, CEO, Positive Purpose, Inc. and National Board Member, Health Promotion Advocates, Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Goof Buijs, Senior Consultant, Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement (CBO), Utrecht, Netherlands
Ian Young, Health Promotion Consultant, Scotland
Dr. Jitra Waikagaul, Associate Professor, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
Jun Kobayashi, Chair: Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research and Professor, Department of Global Health, School of Health Sciences, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan
Laura Minnigerode, Parent Advocate and Wellness Educator, Texas Parent Teacher Association, Austin, Texas, United States
Lawrence St. Leger, Professor, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Lloyd J. Kolbe, Emeritus Professor of Applied health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Lo Siu Chee Amelia, Health Promotion Officer, Center for Health Education and Health Promotion, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
MinChien Tsai, Project Manager, Department of Public Health, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
Nora Howley, Consultant, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Dr. Paul Kocken, Senior Research Scientist, Child Health/Behavioral Societal Sciences, TNO Youth: Growing Up Healthy, Leiden, Netherlands
Shannan D. Young, Senior Project Manager, Dairy Council of California, Sacramento, California, United States
Dr. Shu-Ti Chiou, Director-General, Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
Thomas J. Loughrey, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Yolanda C. De Las Alas, Senior Specialist, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Center for Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), Quezon City, Phillippines
Dr. William Gillespie, Professor and Leadership Consultant, Naples, Florida, United States
ASCD is the global leader in developing and delivering innovative programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. Comprising 125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, professors, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 56 affiliate organizations. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators as they learn, teach, and lead, visit www.ascd.org.
The International School Health Network is part of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Community and School Health based in British Columbia, Canada. It promotes collaboration to support the health, safety, learning, social development, and environmental citizenship of young people through effective school-based and school-linked programs, policies and practices. To learn more, visit www.internationalschoolhealth.org.