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Dropping In — to Prevent Dropping Out

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Dropping In

TC's Charles Basch (seated, far right) with Robert Balfanz (seated, center), a leading Johns Hopkins University researcher on preventing chronic absenteeism and reducing school dropout; Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (seated, left), and (standing) Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association.

In late November, Charles Basch, TC's Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education (seated, far right), traveled to Boston to speak as part of an American Public Health Association panel on dropout prevention. His fellow speakers, included Robert Balfanz (pictured here, seated, center), a leading Johns Hopkins University researcher on preventing chronic absenteeism and reducing school dropout; Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (seated, left), and (standing) Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association.  

In October 2011, in work that filled an entire special issue of The Journal of School Health, Basch published a group of articles collectively titled “Healthier Students Are Better Learners.” The articles documented the extent of seven health issues – vision, asthma, teen pregnancy, aggression and violence, physical activity, breakfast, and inattention and hyperactivity – that disproportionately affect low-income, minority youth, and detail the specific ways that these problems contribute to the nation’s school achievement gap. A concluding paper outlined a strategy for combating these issues with school health programs coordinated by an extensive cast of national, regional and local players. 

Since then, Basch has crisscrossed the country, meeting with stakeholders ranging from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to teachers at local schools to outline his findings . Several states have adopted major aspects of his recommended approach.

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