Following many months of work by the organizing committee to establish a pilot infrastructure, I am pleased to announce the recent launch of the new Student Health Advocacy Coalition (SHAC). Previously known as the Friends of School Health, SHAC is a coalition of national organizations dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of 90 million school-age students. With some key elements now in place, we are ready to move forward on the critical national school health issues facing our students.
An initial face-to-face meeting of the Steering Committee and some member organizations was held in Alexandria, VA on September 15th. During this meeting, we agreed that SHAC will operate as a pilot through May, 2011. At that time, we plan to hold another face-to-face meeting to adopt a final operating code.
The following goals for SHAC were agreed upon at the September meeting::
1. Promote the health, well-being and academic success of school-aged children and youth through collective advocacy efforts at the national/federal level.
2. Develop a network of organizations that support the health, well-being, and academic success of school-age children and youth.
3. Develop a network of policy makers that support the health, well-being, and academic success of school-age children and youth.
4. Share information and resources about national/federal school health-related legislation, and policy and regulatory issues.
During the next few months, SHAC will focus on three key issues at the federal level: reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and funding for CDC-DASH. Current members have established working groups in each of these three areas. Additionally, the entire coalition will meet on a monthly basis by conference call.
We are still welcoming new member organizations to join SHAC. Member organizations will be expected to take an active role in our work and may be asked to provide in-kind or financial support for our activities until a former dues structure is established following this pilot year.
For more information about SHAC, visit: http://www.thesociety.org/programs-SHAC.asp