April 5, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

This is National Public Health Week and we salute school nurses across the Commonwealth for your invaluable contributions of public health in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of our families, schools and our communities in the Commonwealth.  National Public Health Week begins with a focus on behavioral health. Mental health and opioid addiction are impacting the overall health of our state and our country. For the second year in a row, life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped.  Your work is so important to ensuring our students our the healthiest generation ever!  Here in Massachusetts, we should be proud of our status as the healthiest state in the nation according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings report. This is a momentous achievement – the first time that we’ve ever achieved this honor.  Our state has the lowest teen birth rate in the country – and among the highest vaccination rates as well.


We continue to use every tool at our disposal to address the current opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, including the verbal screening tool for this in school, using SBIRT.  Moving forward, we will also continue to focus on our overarching priority of using data more effectively to identify health inequities and to address the underlying condition that cause them. We  know that school health personnel all share a dedication to reducing and eliminating these disparities. Yet  even with all the progress noted above, the truth is that in 2018 the zip code of someone’s home address is still the single strongest predictor of their health.

In short, there is still so much more to do – and working together, we know that we can continue to make a concrete difference in the lives of all Massachusetts residents. In the meantime, please know that we are  so grateful for all that you do – this National Public Health Week and beyond.


Please see the attached flyer with information related to upcoming workshops for the mandatory training related to domestic and sexual violence for all healthcare personnel: 

April 24, 2018 | Dartmouth MA

April 27, 2018 | Haverhill MA

May 2, 2018 | Holyoke MA

May 16, 2018| Westborough MA (evening program)

This training seeks to provide comprehensive education on domestic and sexual violence so health care providers will be better equipped to intervene in a trauma-informed, abuse-aware fashion in circumstances of chronic violence or abuse. It is designed for nurses, and other licensed health care professionals who must attend training as a condition of licensure per M.G.L. c. 112, § 264.


 We hope to see many of you at the May Quarterly Meeting. Please see the attached application to submit an abstracts for poster presentations by April 13th. (Note that this is a request for POSTER presentations only).  Please complete and return to your Regional Consultant (contact information is posted at the end of this email) by April 13th.  


Please know that we are  so grateful for all that you do – this National Public Health Week and beyond.

Mary Ann and Janet

School Health Services Team


Kudos to Cathy Gaudet, Director of School Nursing for the Leominster Public Schools for her presentation to the local School Committee members where she demonstrated a need for more nurses and a rise in mental health issues among students. Read more:http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31778447/shortage-nurses

National Autism Day is also this week!  The nurses at Brockton High school have decided to celebrate national autism day  by selling t-shirts with the autism logo and  Brockton boxer logo on the front. Janice Vasquez, classroom paraprofessional came up  with the idea.  Jessica Marshall and Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, social skills teachers assisted students with autism to design the t-shirt. Mr. Leary in the T-shirt shop made the t-shirts and the nurses sold them. All proceeds will go to students with special needs senior year activities such as yearbooks and prom tickets.  The staff selling the shirts in the picture from left to right are:  Obiajulu Cheratakis, RN; Joanna Hrenko, Health Paraprofessional; Jennifer Killgoar, RN;  Jancie Vazquez, Special Education Paraprofessional; Rachel Nazon, RN; and Jennifer Golden, RN.  What a great way to support our students!


In response to a significant amount of inquiries for youth materials on vaping, see the: latest activity from The 84 .  It encourages youth to spread the word to their peers and address some of the myths out there.  It is open to any high school aged youth group, not just 84 Chapters, details are in the link provided.  Please feel free to share and help promote as you see fit.  It is now on the Clearinghouse and is in English and Spanish: http://massclearinghouse.ehs.state.ma.us/TOB/TC3477.html.


Registration is OPEN for the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance’s 8th annual conference – Healing, Hope and Justice: An Advanced Conversation – on May 1st! Visit the conference website for registration and more information at: http://bit.ly/MACAHHJ2018. Early Bird Registration ends March 31st.

The conference room block is open! MACA has a conference room block at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel, at the special rate of $135 per night (plus tax). To reserve a room, please call the Sheraton reservations line at 888-627-7184 and mention the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance (Group ID: 35684). The room block will be open until April 13th.


Featured Presentations:

Supporting LGBTQ Students
Jason Wheeler, DESE Safe Schools Programs

Understanding the History of Intersex and Transgender Athletes in Sport- Where Do We Go From Here? 
Dr. Kathryn Ackerman, Boston Children’s Hospital

Identity and Introspection: Understanding Ourselves So We Can Understand Others 
Dr. Asa Sevelius, Principal, Heath School (Brookline)

There is a 72-hour cancellation policy for this workshop.

5 PD Hours

Contact: cbhomiller@miaa.net