EDC has been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lead the new national Collaborative for Advancing Health Equity in Out-of-School Time (CAHE-OST). Through the Collaborative, EDC will support CDC-funded state education agencies, districts, schools, and OST programs with implementing and evaluating evidence-based health equity policies, practices, and programs.
Over the next five years, EDC and our partner the National Afterschool Association (NAA) will work to improve the health and well-being of youth and staff in OST programs, with a particular focus on groups that have been marginalized and are the most impacted by health disparities. These include Black and Hispanic youth, individuals with physical and health disabilities, and youth experiencing health disparities due to sexual and gender identity.
Led by project director Kate Goddard and technical advisor Rebecca Bishop, CAHE-OST will provide evaluation, continuous quality improvement, and training and technical assistance support. NAA, which has over 35,000 members nationwide, will serve as a key strategic dissemination and training partner and will work closely with EDC to advance the initiative’s objectives.
“OST programs provide pivotal support for families,” Goddard said. “In addition to enhancing learning and keeping young people safe after school, OST programs can play a vital role in addressing health disparities and improving wellness. We are excited to lead this important new initiative for the CDC.”
The CAHE-OST team will use multiple strategies to achieve the CDC’s goals for the initiative. A few key activities follow:
- Provide professional development to build capacity to use, evaluate, and continuously improve evidence-based strategies to foster young people’s health and well-being
- Support OST program leaders and staff, school decision-makers, and school leadership with accessing evidence-based health equity resources
- Offer in-person trainings and launch a training-of-trainers model to increase understanding of the NAA’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) 2.0 Standards
- Facilitate communities of practices (CoPs) for OST program leaders to support peer networking and foster the sharing of best practices and challenges
- Advance OST programs’ use of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model to promote young people’s well-being
“We are so glad to have NAA as our partner” said Bishop. “Nationwide, OST programs serve young people and families who have undergone significant trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to facing ongoing health disparities. Together, EDC and NAA will provide tools and support to help programs address both challenges.”
“We are grateful that the CDC recognizes the positive impact OST professionals and programs have on young people’s health and wellness and look forward to partnering with EDC to do this important work,” added Heidi Ham, NAA chief operating officer. “The funding is especially timely considering the health inequities exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $358,235 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS.