Kentucky Coalition For Healthy Children Newsletter

Issue 20 | January 2024

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

Policy Brief | KCHC 2024 Children’s Health Policy Priorities

The Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Children’s Steering Committee developed the coalition’s 2024 Children’s Health Policy Priorities. The policy priorities will guide the advocacy work of the coalition during the 2024 Legislative Session. The policy brief was sent along with a letter to all Kentucky Representatives and Senators on December 19, urging them to take action this session to improve the health of Kentucky’s children and youth, in particular with measures to address three health issues of growing concern, the children’s mental health crisis, childhood obesity, and the dramatic rise in youth vaping. The document contains data on these health issues and the coalition’s policy recommendations for this legislative session.

KCHC 2024 Children's Health Policy Priorities

Webinar | ACEs, Substance Use Disorder, and Prevention | January 19

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is hosting a free webinar titled "Health for a Change: ACEs, Substance Use Disorder, and Prevention" on January 19th from 11 am - 12 pm ET. This webinar will dive into the connection between Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and SUD, while sharing what’s going on in Kentucky to address it. There are a very limited number of spots left available to attend the webinar. Learn more and register here.


Save the Date! | Children's Advocacy Day | January 24, 2024

Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) has announced the 2024 Children's Advocacy Week, which will feature virtual events throughout the week and the Rally for Kentucky Kids in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, January 24th. Additionally, at an event on December 6, 2023, KYA released the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children 2024 State Policy and Budget Priorities, which include policies to address “inequities in maternal and infant mortality rates through expansion of access to freestanding birth centers, promoting housing stability through an automatic eviction expungement process and establishing a task force, preventing child sexual abuse through appropriate disclosures and checks in school systems, ensuring compliance with the tobacco-21 law, and more.”

Children’s Advocacy Week

Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children


Conference | 2024 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Control Conference and Rally | February 14 & 15, 2024

Hosted by the Networking for Kentucky’s Youth, high school age youth and youth advocacy groups and coalitions from around the Commonwealth will come together for the 2024 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Control Conference: Together Toward Tomorrow. The youth led event will provide information to their peers about the harmful effects of tobacco and vaping. The conference, which will be held the Kentucky State University in Frankfort on February 14, 2024, will be followed the next day by the Ignite KYouth: Enforce Tobacco 21 Rally at the Capitol, from 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM, hosted by the #iCANendthetrend Youth Advisory Board.

Register here.

For more information on the conference, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

For more information on the rally, contact [email protected].

Live Interactive Webinar | Effective Advocacy: Making Every Voice Count! 3.0 CE | January 8, 2024

The Kentucky Psychological Association is hosting this virtual educational event on January 8, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST. Representative Lisa Willner and Representative Kim Banta will join Advocacy Action Network Executive Director Dr. Sheila Schuster and Kentucky Voices for Health (KVH) Executive Director Emily Beauregard to review the legislative process and ways to make policy change happen through advocacy.

Link to register: KPA

What's New in Children's Health

Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools Action Guide

The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools: An Action Guide for School and District Leaders. The guide is based on research about school-based comprehensive mental health promotion programming and intervention services that contribute to improved student mental health. It is designed for school administrators in K-12 grade schools to identify evidence-based strategies, approaches, and practices that can positively influence students’ mental health. 

Recommendations to Strengthen School Based Health Centers 

Interact for Health, a foundation promoting health in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, has worked for many years to expand access to health care for children through school-based health centers (SBHCs). They have helped open and sustain 43 SBHCs throughout the region, providing 350,000 primary care visits since 2015. The report released by Interact for Health, Evaluation of the Impact of School-Based Health Centers, reflects the data collected and findings from their evaluation of the SBHCs work and offers recommendations to strengthen local school-based health center practice and inform the community and broader field of school-based health. 

“Speaking Up About Mental Health” Essay Contest for Students

High school students are invited to reflect on mental health and stigma in a national essay contest. The National Institutes of Health is inviting students 16 to 18 years old to participate in the Speaking Up About Mental Health essay contest. The contest provides youth with the opportunity to express themselves and explore ways to reduce the stigma around mental health that they face when seeking treatment.

The contest opened in December and the submission deadline is January 16, 2024, with winners announced May 31, 2024.  For more information on the rules of the contest and registration requirements, link to Speaking Up or contact [email protected].

Social Media and Adolescent Health

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report in December 2023 with recommendations for social media companies, Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and others “to minimize the harm of social media use on adolescents’ health, while maximizing its benefits.

The report, Social Media and Adolescent Health,  indicates the potential of social media platforms to influence adolescents in many ways, and analyses how the adolescent brain can be uniquely affected by social media use. And while the report concludes there is not enough evidence to say that social media causes changes in adolescent health at the population level, research shows social media has the potential to both harm and benefit adolescent health. The report goes on to make recommendation related to setting new industry standards, protecting against abuse on social media, it analyzes the evidence of benefits and harms, and includes information on educating teachers and medical professionals on the issue, as well as informing policymakers.

In Your Community

Making Movement a Priority

Middle school students in Morgan County are warming up their minds and bodies. The school serves 425 students in 6th-8th grades in a rural setting, and the majority of the students come from a low socioeconomic background. When the district received a Healthy Schools grant in 2018, the middle school decided to address the low rates of physical activity among its students.

Before the program, students were only active during physical education classes, which was a 9-week term and 1-2 days per week. And not all the student body was enrolled in physical education classes throughout the school year. The school started by establishing walking breaks in the morning, before lunch, and at break times.

However, the pandemic put a wrinkle in the plan when students had to learn from home. When students returned to the classroom – the program readjusted. Kids participated in a 5-minute physical activity break at the beginning of all health classes under the direction of the physical education teacher. The classroom was set up to allow students to participate in physical activity circuits. In the end- the program had students getting near half an hour more of physical activity each week. Students reported that they were more focused and ready to learn after participating in physical activities.

Morgan 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.

In Case You Missed It

Courier Journal | Pay raises, busing and toll bridge tax credits: Beshear releases budget plan early

Herald Leader | It’s illegal to sell tobacco and vape products to minors. Many KY stores do it anyway

Hoptown Chronicle | Without help from General Assembly, Kentucky child care industry facing ‘scary’ 2024

Hoptown Chronicle | CDC urges vaccinations as flue, COVID-19 and RSV rates spike

Cook With Us!

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

Ring in the New Year with Ham Hocks and Black-Eyed Peas.

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