A child must learn reading, writing and arithmetic in order to succeed in school. But that's not all it takes for students to do well. Problems like violence, substance abuse, depression and even poor nutrition can prevent a young person from thriving in the classroom, and ultimately in life.
In an effort to prevent these problems and improve the overall health of school children, the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for School Mental Health (CSMHA), along with the Center for Maternal and Child Health and the Maryland State Department of Education, will sponsor the first annual School Health Institute Program (SHIP). The Maryland State School Health Council is a co-sponsor.
From July 23 - 27, hundreds of physicians, school nurses, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, counselors, health educators, health practitioners, school educators and members of schools teams from across the U.S. will meet at the Holiday Inn Select -- Baltimore North -- for this unique conference. There will be intensive training on all eight components of coordinated school health programs, which are school health services, health education, nutrition, physical education, family and community involvement, staff wellness, school environment and mental health.
"The goal of this conference is to present state-of-the-art information on issues related to school health, and child and adolescent mental health. We also want to enhance networking and planning efforts," says Mark Weist, Ph.D., who is the conference chair as well as the director of the Center for School Mental Health (CSMHA), and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. CSMHA is a national resource and information center, providing consultation and technical assistance to school-based mental health programs and professionals throughout the country. The center also runs school based mental health programs in 21 Baltimore City public schools.
The first day of the conference will include presentations by Gaynell Colburn, M.D. of the Telsie B. Foundation, Nora Howley with the Council of Chief State Officers and Casey Hannan of the Division of Adolescent Health at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Georges Benjamin, M.D., and Superintendent of Maryland State Department of Education, Nancy Grasmick, will be in attendance. A wide variety of workshops, such as violence prevention and creating asthma-friendly schools, will be held on the following four days of the conference.
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