A child who misses school due to a parent’s inability to get her to the doctor may fall behind in learning. A hungry child cannot pay full attention in his class. And the effects of insecure housing or at-home trauma most definitely spill over into school performance.
The evidence is clear. There is a direct two-way link between children’s health and educational attainment, from pre-K through high school and beyond.
It’s heartening to learn that Maryland’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education recognizes these connections. Nicole Stallings and I met informally last week with commission chair Brit Kirwan to discuss its recommendations on strengthening schools’ resources for at-risk children’s health and well-being. We also delved into the proposals on career and technical education, which will help prepare students for health care jobs.
From my visits with hospitals across the state, I know you see the clear synergy between these initiatives and our goals as health care leaders. For us to truly improve people’s health, we cannot wait to meet them in the hospital. We must partner with others in our communities and address social factors such as education, housing, and nutrition. Where better to start than in our neighborhood schools?
MHA’s Government Affairs team will closely track movement on the Kirwan commission’s recommendations during the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly. We will show support, especially for elements consistent with our mission to advance the health of all Marylanders.