Kentucky Coalition For Healthy Children Newsletter

Issue 15 | August 2023

Working collaboratively on policies and practices in and around schools that promote equity and improve the physical, social, and emotional health and well-being of children, youth, and families.
The opinions and viewpoints expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the positions of all coalition partners.
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KCHC Member Highlights

Webinar Recording | Unmasking the Impact of Toxic Stress 

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky held a Health for a Change webinar, Unmasking the Impact of Toxic Stress and Discrimination on Health Outcomes, on July 11, 2023, with presentations by Dr. Timothy Ainger, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology at University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Dr. Karen Krigger, Director of Health Equity Health Sciences Center, University of Louisville; and Dr. Shilpa Londhe, PhD, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Maternal Spotlight.

The recording of the webinar can be found here.

Grant Opportunity | Community Schools Initiative

The Prichard Committee's Community Schools Initiative has opened its application for Full-Service Community Schools. Twenty school districts across Kentucky will develop local responses to the unique needs of students and families, ultimately improving academic outcomes. A total of $30 million will be distributed over five years, each selected district will receive $1.5 million, equivalent to $300,000 per year, to bring communities to the table and implement this research-informed framework.

The application for selecting the 16 new districts is live and will remain open until August 25, 2023.

This is the link to the application form: Prichard Committee Community Schools

Youth Program | Kentucky Youth Advocates Health Youth Ambassadors

Kentucky Youth Advocates has a Health Youth Ambassadors program, "a statewide cohort that engages youth to learn about advocacy and policy, address social determinants of health through policy change, and advocate for themselves and their peers on health-related issues."  Here is the link to the application form for interested high school studentsHealth Youth Ambassadors

Summer Food Service Program

Feeding Kentucky reminds us that during the summer months families who counted on school breakfast and lunch can have a difficult time stretching the family food budgets. The Summer Food Service Program helps low-income children up to age 18 at risk of inadequate nutrition with free meals during the summer months when school is not in session.

For program information visit the  USDA Summer Food Service Program website and the KY Kids Eat website.

Resource | Child Wellness

Aetna Better Health Medicaid stresses the importance of well child visits and vaccinations as the best way to prevent illness and help children’s immune systems to fight off infections. Aetna has an age-by-age schedule to well-child visits, vaccinations and keeping children healthy, link here

Quarterly Forum | ThriveKY and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services


Kentucky Voices for Health (KVH) ThriveKY Quarterly Forum with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) will take place on August 1 at 2:00 providing major updates on topics such as Medicaid renewals, the Home and Community Based waiver (HCBS) waiting list, reimbursement rates for pharmacists. Link to register here


Advocacy Series | State & Federal Policy Updates

The ThriveKY coalition and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will hold their Quarterly Advocacy Update on state and federal policies with an impact on Kentucky families on September 5 2023, 2:00 to 3:30 ET. Register here.

Advocacy Series | ThriveKY Regional Advocacy for Thriving Communities Series

Kentucky Voices for Health (KVH) & the coalition of ThriveKY partners will provide in-person around the Commonwealth events this year, April through November, with updates on state and federal policies that impact the health and wellbeing of Kentuckians. Speakers will discuss how to advocate for a stronger safety net through public assistance programs designed to support thriving communities. The series includes important updates on the economy, Medicaid, KCHIP, SNAP, housing, transportation, childcare, public health, behavioral health, and others. They provide tools to assist community members with meeting basic needs and tips on being a more effective advocate in your community. Click here for more information.

Register here for the August 15th event in Morehead from 10am-1pm EDT.

What's New in Children's Health

Place Matters: The Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Healthy Development

This research working paper from The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University examines how systemic factors influence the built and natural environments and interact to impact a child’s social environment. “It explains how these environmental influences shape development and lifelong health, while also highlighting the role that current and historic public policies have played, along with systemic racism, in creating a landscape where levels of exposure to risk and access to opportunity are not distributed equally.”

The of the working paper include:

-The physical environments where children live affect their development and health.

-The conditions of a place can have positive or negative influences on child health and development.

-Environmental exposures early in life can cause lasting changes in developing biological systems.

 -Racism influences multiple dimensions of the natural and built environments that affect the foundations of child development and lifelong well-being.

-The timing of environmental experiences and exposures can influence both short- and long-term effects.

-Individuals respond differently to the physical environment, but there are clear patterns of risk that can inform universal action.

 -Implications for new directions in policy

Link: Place Matters

Toolkit for Implementing Authentic Youth Engagement Strategies

For organization looking to increase youth engagement, Youth Move National, in collaboration with the American Institute for Research (AIR) and OJJDP published this Toolkit for Implementing Authentic Youth Engagement Strategies Within State Advisory Groups. While aimed at participation within state advisory groups, the information provided is useful for the participation of youth in other initiatives.

The toolkit includes recommendations for recruitment, retention, as well as mentorship, ongoing engagement, public participation and more. It also includes assessment tools, including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Barrier Analysis and Assessment Tool.

Link: Youth Engagement Toolkit

In Your Community

The Healthy Hydration Station Project: Empowering Minds and Nurturing Health in Bath County Schools

Students in Bath County Schools are soaking up the benefits of an initiative that poured positive outcomes into the district. The “Healthy Hydration Station Project” was started when Bath County received a Healthy Schools Grant. The rural school district is about 50 miles east of Lexington, with approximately 2,000 students (K - 12th grade). More than 70% of kids and teens in the community qualify for free and/or reduced lunch.

To improve the health and wellness of its students, the school district decided to install “hydration stations” to encourage healthy beverage choices. The success of the initial installation through the Healthy Schools Grant led Bath County to use COVID-19 ESSER funds to expand the program and add additional hydration stations in its schools.

The introduction of the attractive and kid-friendly units significantly increased water intake among students post-pandemic. Higher water consumption is known to have many health benefits and can reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages which contributes to childhood obesity. Data also suggests increased water intake can improve brain function. The successes of the hydration stations even went beyond their original goals. The project also lessened pollution caused by disposable plastic bottles, provided a more sanitary option than the traditional water fountain, and decreased disruptions to instructional time. 

The project revealed the importance of actively promoting the hydration stations to students, as encouragement and visibility increased usage. It was also discovered that students needed reminders to clean their water bottles and not share theirs with others. 

One of the key challenges facing the project is the cost of maintenance for the hydration stations. Moving forward, the committee overseeing the efforts plans to explore future funding with potential community partners and other grants. It will also continue to promote the current hydration stations and their benefits to students.

Bath County was one of nine districts within the state which partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education from 2018-23 in the implementation of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Schools Cooperative Agreement to develop and implement school health infrastructure, best practices, programming and policies. For more information, contact Stephanie Bunge ([email protected]) .

In Case You Missed It

ACLU Kentucky | Religious Freedom Upheld in Case Against Department of Corrections.

ACLU Kentucky | Statement on emergency motion for relief in Doe v Thornbury.

NBC | Number of kids who received free summer lunches dropped by nearly 45% in 2022 compared to previous year.

Herald Leader | Whooping cough cases pop up in Lexington. These are the symptoms, plus vaccine information

American Heart Association | American Heart Association distributes more than 100 sports balls to children in Eastern Kentucky

Cook With Us!

Follow along as we make healthy, kid-friendly recipes with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

Summer is heating up! Beat the heat with this cherry fruit salad.

Contact Us!

Do you have an upcoming event or exciting news to celebrate with our coalition? Please email Alexandra Kerley at [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming KCHC Newsletter!

Amalia Mendoza | KCHC Newsletter | 502-326-2583
Become a Member
Current KCHC Steering Committee Member Organizations:

Kentucky Department for Public Health

Kentucky Family Thrive

Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky Health Departments Association

Kentucky Nurses Association

Kentucky Primary Care Association

Kentucky Public Health Association

Kentucky Psychological Association 

Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentucky Youth Advocates

KY Parent Teacher Association – 16th District

Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence

Seven Counties Services

Spalding University

St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Trans Parent Lex

United Healthcare

University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences

University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Studies