Check out the latest news about NAA and special announcements pertinent to the field of afterschool.

CDC Funds New Initiative Focused on Health Equity in Out-of-School Time

Saturday, 18 June 2022 09:00

Over the next five years, National Afterschool Association (NAA) will partner with Education Development Centers to improve the health and well-being of youth and staff in OST programs, focusing on populations most impacted by health disparities. These include Black and Hispanic children and youth, individuals with physical and health disabilities, and youth experiencing health disparities due to sexual and gender identity.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded funding for a Collaborative for Advancing Health Equity in Out-of-School Time (CAHE-OST). Through the Collaborative, EDC, and NAA will support CDC-funded state education agencies (SEAs), districts, schools, and school-based OST programs with implementing and evaluating evidence-based health equity policies, practices, and programs. 

Led by EDC project director Kate Goddard and training manager Rebecca Bishop, CAHE-OST will provide evaluation, continuous 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 work closely with EDC to advance the initiative’s objectives.  

“OST programs provide pivotal support for working 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: 

  • Supporting OST program leaders and staff, school decision-makers, and school leadership with accessing evidence-based health equity resources
  • Hosting an annual Advancing Health Equity in Out-of-School Time Virtual Institute to provide comprehensive professional development to OST leaders nationwide
  • Facilitating virtual communities of practices (CoP) for OST program leaders to support peer networking and foster the sharing of best practices and challenges
  • Offering in-person trainings and launching a training-of-trainers model to increase understanding of the NAA’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) 2.0 Standards
  • Advancing OST programs’ use of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model to promote young people’s wellbeing

“We are so glad to have NAA as our partner,” added Bishop. “Nationwide, OST programs serve young people and families who have undergone significant trauma during COVID-19 and face ongoing health disparities. Together, EDC and NAA will provide tools and support to help programs and professionals to address both challenges.”

NAA’s COO Heidi Ham who will be the NAA lead along with NAA’s Director of Communications and Member Engagement, Jessica Hay added, “We are grateful that CDC recognizes the positive impact OST professionals and programs have on young people’s health and wellness and look forward to partnering with EDC and others to do this important work. 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.