About the Division of Adolescent and School Health
Healthy Youth. Successful Futures.
CDC, through its Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), promotes environments where youth can gain fundamental health knowledge and skills, establish healthy behaviors, and connect to health services to prevent HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.
DASH is a unique source of support for HIV, STD, and unintended pregnancy prevention efforts in the nation’s schools. DASH works to protect and improve the health of youth by:
- Collecting and analyzing data that drive action.
- Translating science into innovative programs and tools that protect youth.
- Supporting a network of leaders in primary prevention by funding education agencies that reach nearly 2 million students.
DASH is committed to preventing HIV, STDs, and pregnancy among all youth. Taking a school-based health promotion and disease prevention approach to adolescent health, the division builds strategic partnerships and works to prepare healthy youth for a successful future.
The Path Forward: DASH 2020–2025 Strategic Plan articulates the vision, framework, and overarching goals and strategies that guide the division’s programmatic, research and surveillance efforts through 2025. This strategic plan expands DASH’s approach to addressing the critical needs of adolescents and provides targeted actions to improve their health outcomes.
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CDC’s Role in School Health
CDC promotes the health and well-being of adolescents through schools, enabling them to become healthy and productive adults. CDC supports school health functions by:
CDC is a leader in developing and promoting data-driven ways to make students safer and healthier. Since 1988, the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) has worked with education agencies, health agencies, youth-serving organizations, and parents to help youth adopt healthy behaviors and avoid becoming pregnant or infected with HIV or STDs. We look back across three decades of progress in translating the science into programs, policies, and practices that can improve students’ lives.
DASH is organizationally located within the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP).
CDC engages an established network of leaders in school-based HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention. These funded partners work with DASH to:
- Deliver HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention programs grounded in the latest research
- Select and implement effective health education curricula that best fit local needs
- Build local capacity to connect students to school-based and community health services
- Establish safe environments where students feel connected to school and supportive adults
- Address the unique needs of sexual and gender minority youth, who not only have higher rates of HIV and STDs, but also are more likely to experience bullying, violence, substance use, and other challenges
DASH also funds organizations that help education agencies with training, technical assistance, and resource development to increase the impact of local programs.
DASH’s research application and evaluation focus provides national leadership in identifying effective practices for school health programs and translates the latest scientific findings into resources for use by education agencies and non-governmental organizations. DASH activities include
- Developing practical tools and research-based guidance
- Assisting funded partners with evaluation of sexual education programs
- Studying risk and protective factors as well as interventions associated with adolescent sexual behavior
- Determining how best to affect adolescents’ health care, school and community environments
CDC supports adolescent and school health efforts using state-of-the-art surveillance systems designed to collect, analyze, and disseminate data. These school-based surveillance systems provide education agencies with information they can translate into programs, policies, and practices that improve student health and academic performance. DASH works with state and local education and health agencies to implement the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), which monitors priority health risk behaviors. DASH also manages data collection on school health policies, programs, and practices through the administration of School Health Profiles (Profiles).