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Developing and supporting school health programs. Role for family physicians.

Abstract : PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: School staff are anxious about the demands on their time associated with a perceived increase in health problems among their students. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To respond to these concerns by developing a health committee in two elementary schools and one high school. The health committee could perform needs assessments and, with the results of these assessments and a careful literature review, could develop health policies and procedures appropriate to the school environment and to evolving community expectations. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: A committee of four family physicians (nonremunerated parents of students), one of whom served as Chair, four school administrators, and one part-time remunerated nurse practitioner explored aspects of illness in the schools. They studied approaches to acute and chronic student illness; emergency response; management of children with special needs; environmental safety; health promotion; and the availability and quality of resources for learning about health for teachers, administrators, parents, and students. CONCLUSION: Opportunities exist for family physicians to expand their involvement in child and adolescent health in schools. Involvement should be collaborative and multidisciplinary and reflect community interests and needs. [References: 38].