Institute for Health Policy Forum

The future of healthy schools: supportive funding, systems change, and community collaboration

August 30, 2021

School systems have the power to improve the health of a whole community, and COVID-19 shed light on the critical intersection between health and education. This virtual event explored how health and education professionals can collaboratively and sustainably build healthy schools. Attendees learned about school health funding through a new Child Trends report*, community engagement strategies, and developing a long-term plan to prioritize and embed health in schools. 

*Child Trends school health funding report presentation deck.

Forum video

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.Opening remarks
10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.Child Trends Report: Mapping the federal school health landscape
10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.Panel discussion with federal, state, and local education leaders
11:15 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.Audience engagement: Q&A with experts
11:25 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.Closing
Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt, MA

Holly Hunt is chief of the Healthy Schools Branch in the Division of Population Health, at Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The School Health Branch leads chronic disease prevention activities specific to children and adolescents in schools with a focus on obesity prevention, nutrition and physical activity, and management of chronic conditions. With a long history of working across education and public health agencies, the Healthy Schools Branch provides rich partnerships and expertise for implementing public health practices in schools.

Ms. Hunt leads innovative projects in research application, evaluation, and program and professional development. Prior to joining the Branch, Ms. Hunt served as the Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, responsible for the overall management of Division operations and establishing effective working partnerships with key national, federal, and nonprofit organizations working to improve the health of youth. Ms. Hunt joined CDC in 1997 and has served as the Associate Director for Policy, Evaluation, and Legislation, Director of Science Education, and as a Project Officer to CDC-funded national, state and local school health projects.

Cecilia Echeverría

Cecilia Oregón, MPP, MPH

Cecilia Oregón is the executive director for Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy. In her role, Cecilia leads strategy and operations for the Institute. Her specific areas of expertise include access to health care for underserved populations as well as behavioral health, school-based health, and early childhood issues.

Cecilia joined Kaiser Permanente in 2013 as the director of safety net partnerships for the National Community Benefit program. In her role, Cecilia helped accelerate safety net grant strategy and initiatives.  She also fostered the development and spread of national and regional safety net partnerships.

Cecilia has a bachelor’s degree in social welfare, a master’s in public policy, and a master’s in public health from University of California, Berkeley. She currently serves as the vice chair of the Alameda County First 5 Commission and sits on the boards of directors for the Insure the Uninsured Project and Northern California Grantmakers.

Annie Reed

Annie Reed, DrPH

Annie Reed is the national director of Thriving Schools at Kaiser Permanente where she leads strategic development, oversight, and evaluation of large-scale school-based programs aimed at addressing teacher, staff, and student physical and mental health. She has worked at the intersection of public health and public education for 15 years.

Dr. Reed received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, and her doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley where she studied how school districts can leverage nontraditional funding to invest in school-based health initiatives aimed at improving health and academic outcomes.

Charlene Russell Tucker

Charlene Russell-Tucker, MSM, RDN

Charlene Russell-Tucker is currently serving as the acting commissioner of education for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Until her appointment in March of 2021, she served as the Department’s deputy commissioner, a role in which she oversaw educational supports and wellness priorities. Prior, she served as chief operating officer and division chief for the Department’s Office of Student Supports and Organizational Effectiveness. She also served as associate commissioner of Education and Bureau Chief within the Department overseeing a portfolio of programs and services.

Ms. Russell-Tucker has served on various state and national committees, including the Connecticut General Assembly’s Committee on Children Strategic Action Group on Chronic Absence, as President of the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an expert panel member on committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ms. Russell-Tucker previously served as an adjunct faculty member at Albertus Magnus College School of New Dimensions.

Erin M. Simon, EdD

Erin M. Simon leads major reform efforts in school districts. In her current role as the assistant superintendent of school support services for the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Dr. Simon oversees more than 300 staff members and manages a $65,000,000 million budget.

Dr. Simon leads the direction of the special education and student support divisions, and the Family Resource Centers, which provide social, emotional and behavioral health-related support to students within a cluster of schools in LBUSD. She also provides guidance to the District’s 85 schools, with over 69,000 students, on specialized services that covers compliance and policy to name a few.

Dr. Simon has been recognized and praised for increasing student achievement and school attendance, closing the opportunity gaps between identifiable and pronounced groups of students, and advocating for equitable robust educational programs, social-emotional interventions and resources to ensure students can reach their potential. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to policy and practice.

Deborah Temkin

Deborah Temkin, PhD

Deborah Temkin is the Vice President for Youth Development and Education Research at Child Trends where she aims to use quality research to inform policy and practice to improve conditions for learning so that all students can thrive. As part of this work, Dr. Temkin co-leads the policy analysis and development arm of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Initiative, which aims to document and inform state policies across all components of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework. Prior to Child Trends, Dr. Temkin led the Federal Initiative on Bullying Prevention. 

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