ABOUT THE COUNCIL ON SCHOOL HEALTH

About this Web site

This Web site is primarily for clinicians with an interest in school health, whether as a practicing clinician involved in the intersection of health and education or as a school consultant responsible for school or district school health issues. This site is intended to provide technical assistance and relevant resources to support this interest. 

About the Council on School Health

The AAP Council on School Health (COSH) is composed of approximately 200 pediatricians (Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics) and affiliate members representing various professional disciplines including, nurses, counselors and other allied health professionals. The Council is led by a 15 member Executive Committee, which consists of AAP fellows elected by active members of the Council and liaisons from several national organizations. Click here to learn about council membership.

What does the Council on School Health Do?

To achieve our mission and vision, the AAP COSH provides:

  • Advocacy – Informs national and state policy to ensure the health and safety of students and supports integrated, comprehensive, coordinated school health and other school-based health services
  • Technical Assistance – Provides guidance to support implementation of school health policies and practices
  • Education – Offers continuing medical education focused on best practices for effective school health policies and programs
  • Policy Development –Develops and disseminates policy based on best practices and evidence based research

The COSH works closely with various AAP Divisions and Departments, chapters, national partners and its members to provide these services. If you are a member and would like to get involved in these efforts please email us at schoolhealth@aap.org.

Mission

The Council on School Health is dedicated to maximizing the personal health, academic achievement and life-long success of children and adolescents. The COSH seeks to promote sound school health policies and practices that ensure the health and safety of school-aged children and adolescents through policy, education and advocacy.

Vision

The vision of the Council on School Health is for all children and adolescents to reach their maximum academic potential in a safe and healthy school environment that is supported by coordinated school health programs and other school-based health care services. Pediatricians and the medical home team and family will work in concert with schools to promote the physical, mental and social well-being of all children and adolescents.

COSH Principles


  • COSH affirms that excellence in school health has a school physician in every school district and a school nurse in every school at ratios endorsed by the National Association of School Nurses.
  • COSH supports the concept of the eight components of the Coordinated School Health Model promoted by the Centers for Disease Control as an essential foundation of a sound school health services program. (link)
  • COSH endorses the importance of prevention through early recognition, prompt intervention, and early education and/or remediation of potential problems that will interfere with life-long health or learning.
  • COSH acknowledges the necessity of ensuring full access of all school services in the least restrictive fashion for all children including those with special health care needs.
  • COSH promotes the use of School Based Health Centers to improve access to health care, either as an adjunct to the private medical home or as a primary medical home for those families that would lack such care in any other fashion, as promulgated by the National Assembly of School Based Health Centers.
  • COSH maintains that schools exercise a powerful role in shaping the health and well-being of young people and can provide a critical facility in which many agencies might work together to maintain their well-being including serving as an important public health intervention site, consistent with the American School Health Association.

History of the Council on School Health

The AAP Committee on School Health was established soon after the Academy began in the mid-1930s. For nearly 75 years, the Committee on School Health served as the authority on matters of school health and was responsible for developing the Academy’s early policy on related matters. These policies addressed a wide range of issues affecting pediatricians and schools including, health and illness management issues as they relate to the school and to the child’s educational potential, as well as the pediatrician’s role in the school setting.

The Section on School Health was founded in 1987 to support its members, general pediatricians and other pediatric health care professionals in their work to improve the care of children in school. The Section worked closely with the Committee on initiatives to provide support and education for physicians working in or with schools on various issues. Each year, the Section offered enlightening educational programs at the AAP annual meetings and met to discuss and develop new ideas to improve the care of children during the school day.

The Committee and Section were also responsible for publishing two major AAP publications, School Health: Policy and Practice and Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools. They also worked closely with other AAP groups to develop other major publications.

In 2005 these entities merged to  create the Council.  This single entity  provides greater synergy between the work of the Committee and Section - policy, programming and ultimately practice. Led by the COSH Executive Committee, the council is responsible for policy development, dissemination, implementation and education. The COSH consults to the AAP Board of Directors and other AAP committees, sections, councils and task forces on related issues.

Each year, the Council offers a one-day educational program at the National Conference and Exhibition that focuses on recently published or forthcoming policy statements and other topics of interests to pediatricians working with or in schools. Recent topics have included, drug testing in schools, school food programs, preventing and treating homesickness, mental health, confidentiality issues, and sexuality education. During this program, the council holds its annual business meeting and also presents its two service awards, the Milton JE Senn Award and the Martin C Ushkow Award.

Since the merger, the COSH Executive Committee has continually sought to fulfill its goal to better link general pediatricians (particularly by way of the chapters) to Academy leadership by providing greater opportunity for members to become involved on key matters related to school health.