DASH Partner Update – December 2020

Division of Adolescent and School Health: Healthy Youth. Successful Futures.

Dear Partners,

Wow. 2020.

We have heard it said many times already that this holiday season is very different than in years past. Less travel, less time with extended family and friends, celebrations scaled back. And maybe a harder time seeing through how difficult everything has been this past year to get all the way to thankful. But I hope not.

As the year closes, I often take time to look back and reflect, but I think this year it might be more important to look forward. To see the possibilities in front of us – an end to the pandemic, the chance to get students back to school, and to make our systems more just – even if we are still figuring out when and how we get there. There is so much potential in the work that we do, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. I am so appreciative to be a part of the Division of Adolescent and School Health and of everything each of our partners does to move us forward.

I hope you all have a peaceful, warm, lovely holiday season, no matter how you are spending it. I hope it renews you, shows you what you are thankful for, and helps you see what is possible.


Kathleen A. Ethier, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What's New at CDC?
Updates and Resources
  • New Webpage on Adolescent Mental Health.
    CDC released a new webpage highlighting the impact of poor mental health on adolescents, and steps that schools, parents, and families can take to protect adolescent mental health.
  • New Webpage on Adolescent High-Risk Drug Use.
    CDC released a new webpage focusing on how schools, parents, and families can help prevent drug use by working individually and collectively. The webpage provides action steps, frequently asked questions, and resources all can use to when working with adolescents.
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
    • CDC and the CDC Foundation joined the Ad Council to launch COPING-19, a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign aimed at raising awareness and providing tips and resources to help people who are experiencing mental health challenges. COPING-19 provides self-care and coping tips, as well as resources in English and Spanish, to address the struggles people are facing and help with their mental health needs.
    • How Right Now is a comprehensive communication initiative, funded by the CDC Foundation with technical assistance from CDC, that is grounded in research and focuses on addressing mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing individual coping skills and resilience. How Right Now provides information, strategies, and resources in both English and Spanish.
  • COVID-19 Partner Calls.
    Dr. Ethier discussed strategies for building resilience and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and the holiday season on the November 30th Partner Call: Resilience and Mental Health for the Holidays. Watch previous webinars and partner calls and sign up for future calls (COVID-19 Partners) on CDC’s website.
  • COVID-19 Resources for School Nurses and Other School Healthcare Personnel.
    A new section on CDC’s Schools & Child Care webpage highlights resources tailored to school nurses and other healthcare personnel in schools, including printable posters and graphics.
  • Partner Toolkit for Healthy Schools.
    CDC recently launched the CDC Healthy Schools Partner Toolkit to help students, parents and school staff lower stress and improve mental health, promote physical activity, engage families and students from a distance, and protect general health and welfare. The toolkit contains links to school guidance, virtual teaching and learning resources, infographics, webinars, trainings, other promotional toolkits, and more.
Updates from Partners
  • Report on Transgender Students’ Intersectional Health Disparities.
    Advocates for Youth published a report, On All Slides: How Race, Ethnicity & Gender Influence Health Risk for Transgender Students of Color. The findings and recommendations offered in this report will help educators, researchers, and stakeholders design meaningful interventions that can reduce health risk behaviors and improve health outcomes for transgender students of color.
  • Special Issue of the Journal of School Health
    The December 2020 special issue of the Journal of School Health highlights the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework in action as a tool for equity in promoting healthy school environments for students.
  • HRC’s 8th Annual Time to THRIVE Conference
    Time to THRIVE will be virtual in 2021, and is planned for February 9-11, 2021. This year’s event includes virtual keynotes, interactive virtual workshop sessions, online networking opportunities, virtual exhibitors. Time to THRIVE is co-presented by the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association and attracts a broad range of youth-serving professionals to learn more about promoting safety, inclusion, and well-being for LGBTQ youth. Learn more or register here.
  • E-newsletter for School Health Policy
    The Creating Healthy Schools Through State Policy weekly e-newsletter shares research and policy updates to support the intersection of education and health. The e-newsletter, developed by Child Trends with funding from CDC, is available to any state-level officials and is tailored for state education and health agencies, state boards of education, state legislators, children’s cabinets, and governors’ offices.
In the Field

In the summer of 2019, to improve support for transgender and gender non-conforming students in the district, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released updated guidelines for schools in the district, including policies on anti-bullying and harassment, right to privacy, and the right for students to be addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds with their gender identity while at school. CPS developed a supporting gender diversity toolkit and conducted training for all school staff to help schools implement the guidelines. In the year since the guidelines were implemented, more than 22,849 CPS school staff have been trained.

  • January 18-22: No Name Calling Week
  • February 1-5: National School Counseling Week
  • February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • February 14: National Condom Day