2013 Legislative Priorities for the 113th Congress
1- Support and promote the Prevention and Public Health Fund, established by the Affordable Care Act, which creates a healthier, more sustainable future for our nation’s children.
Ask Members of Congress to sign on to a letter addressed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, urging both Departments to continue to work together to invest in efforts that ensure students have access to prevention programs, which will improve health outcomes and academic achievement.
- In order to ensure that the future generation of America is successful, we must address our nation’s challenges by supporting prevention efforts that help children make better choices and live healthier lives.
- It is imperative to focus on prevention from the very beginning. Schools play a vital role in child and adolescent development by addressing the mental, physical, and social health of students.
- Investing in prevention is the key to reducing health care costs and creating a long-term path to a healthier and economically sound America.
2- Encourage the U.S. Department of Education to prevent and address teen dating violence, which is an increasing public health and education concern.
Ask Members of Congress to sign on to a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Duncan to take a lead in efforts to prevent teen dating violence and help children who have been hurt by violence heal and thrive educationally and in life.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that 10 percent of teens have experienced physical dating violence in the past year. Abusive dating relationships are occurring at younger ages than expected. Prevention efforts in schools are critical as many young people receive health information, which can build essential personal and social skills.
- CDC has found that victims of dating violence have lower grades, and other studies have found this type of violence leads to higher truancy and dropout rates.
- Dating violence is a public health issue as victims are more likely to experience other risk behaviors such as physical fighting, heavy drinking, cigarette use, attempted suicide and teen pregnancy, all of which negatively affect their academic performance.
3- Urge Congress to re-introduce legislation, the Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act, which recognizes the critical role school nurses serve in providing access to quality care.
Ask Members of Congress to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter to support increasing America’s school nurse workforce, in an effort to lessen the gaps that exist in providing access to quality health services for our nation’s students.
- The legislation would provide demonstration grants to local education agencies to lower the ratio of students to school nurses, using a formula-based approach, to evaluate its effectiveness in improving health and learning outcomes.
- Healthy children learn better, and students today have increasingly complex needs for nursing care.
- For many of our nation’s children, the school nurse is often the sole provider of access to health care, including preventative care.