DASH Partner Update - June 2020

Dear Partners,

We are living in uncertain times. The past few months have, once again, shone a spotlight on the tremendous racial and health disparities in our country – both in the effects of this pandemic and in the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others.

DASH stands with our staff, communities, and partners who are voicing their anger, pain, and deep frustration with systems that limit the achievement of communities of color, including LGBTQ communities of color. When I see young people, supported by adults, leading the charge to stand up for racial justice and improve the lives of black and brown people, I feel proud and humbled to work in a division dedicated to adolescents.

I also feel hopeful for the future.

In DASH, we are committing to work harder to deliberately address the impact that systemic racism has on the lives of adolescents, especially those at higher risk for HIV and STDs, unintended pregnancy, poor mental health, violence, and substance use. DASH’s platform provides opportunities to help connect students, families, and teachers to resources and tools that create safer and more supportive school environments, and address disparate health outcomes among adolescents. We are asking ourselves what we need to do or change to optimize the opportunities this platform affords to us to more successfully advance equity within school settings and in surrounding communities.

I know that words are not enough. As we move forward, we will continue to update you on our actions, and invite you to give us honest input and feedback along the way. We do not take lightly our responsibility to make schools better, safer, more equitable spaces in which youth can thrive.

Please know that DASH is here and steadfast in our commitment to listen, learn, provide resources, and foster connections so that we can build a better future together.

Best,
Kathleen

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

CDC/DASH Updates and Resources
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  • New Success Stories: DASH recently published two new success stories that show program success under the 1308 funding cycle. The stories feature Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s success in increasing referrals for key sexual health services and Boston Public Schools’ success in expanding the amount of students who have access to Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). The new success stories can be found on the DASH success stories webpage.
  • New Professional Development Webpage for Schools: DASH recently published a new web page on how schools can conduct effective professional development. Professional development is critical to the success of school health initiatives and can ensure that school staff have the capacity to effectively implement strategies that positively impact the health and well-being of young people. The new professional development page can be found on the DASH website.
  • Recordings of COVID-19 Community Stakeholder Calls: Last month, CDC held a series of calls for various stakeholder groups helping communities plan for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recordings of these calls can be found at the links below.
  • Recruiting for Community Preventive Services Task Force: CDC has issued a Federal Register Noticeexternal icon to solicit nominations for qualified individuals interested in serving on the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF).Members are appointed by the CDC Director and serve five-year terms, with possible extensions. Nomination packages must be received on or before 5:00 p.m. EDT, on Friday, June 26, 2020.
Publications
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Updates from Partners
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  • Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: The Trevor Project published a white paperexternal icon on the pandemic’s negative impact on LGBTQ youth mental health and well-being. In addition to outlining ways that physical distancing, economic strain, and increased anxiety related to COVID-19 may impact LGBTQ youth, the report also details how The Trevor Project is working to meet the increased demand of LGBTQ youth seeking support during this pandemic.
  • Supporting our Children’s Mental Health: Community Conversations: The American School Health Association is hosting a webinar on July 1st, 2:00-3:00 pm EST which will: elucidate the need for teen depression and suicide prevention programs, describe major features of Family Workshops, and help participants recognize teen depression and suicide signs and symptoms. Learn more and register hereexternal icon.
  • Life Disrupted: The Impact of COVID-19 on Teens: GENYOUTH released their latest Youth Insights Surveyexternal icon which highlights what U.S. youth (ages 13-18) feel, and need, in their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Field

Boston Public Schools (BPS) led expansive efforts to create safer and more supportive learning environments for LGBTQ youth in a subset of high schools. In just three years, BPS expanded the percentage of these schools that had a GSA from 45% to 95%, ensuring access to GSAs for more than 11,000 students.

Upcoming Health Observances
  • June: LGBTQ Pride Month
  • June 27: National HIV Testing Day