Skagit County Receives Funding from American Academy of Pediatrics to Advance Chronic Condition Management in Schools

Kailani Amine, MHA

“We are so grateful for the chronic care management grant. This grant allowed us to rebuild a strong coalition of our local health district, school nurses and primary care pediatricians to better understand the needs of our community and provide collaborative support for families of children with chronic health concerns.”

Rick Levine, MD

More than 14 million school-aged youth – encompassing almost 20% of the school-aged population – are affected by chronic health conditions. About half of these youth’s conditions is moderate or severe and the prevalence of chronic health conditions is on the rise. These chronic health conditions include asthma, diabetes, obesity, food allergies, mental health, tooth decay, and seizure disorders.

Schools’ role in helping kids to manage these chronic health conditions is key due to the linkage between health and academic performance. School engagement in supporting kids with chronic health conditions is particularly needed at schools with high numbers of students impacted by health disparities.

With funding made possible through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Schools Branch, the American Academy of Pediatrics awarded 10 community grants that funded a 6-month period to plan and implement collaborative projects to advance chronic condition management in schools. The WCAAP, in collaboration with key members from Skagit County was one of 10 to be awarded this opportunity.

With this funding, the team reconvened their partnership and joint meetings between local pediatricians, Skagit County Health Department, local hospitals, and the school districts in the county. A brief and informal needs assessment was conducted to determine the most pressing care coordination efforts that could be addressed at these partnership meetings and key informant interviews with parents, especially those with limited English proficiency. Phone interviews via interpreters with 6 parents in Skagit County: 2 Russian speaking, 2 Spanish speaking, 2 Mixtec speaking.

Quarter 1 Topic: Vanderbilt and ADHD

Quarter 2 Topic: Diabetes and devices

Key Takeaways:

  • Recurring meetings that include school nurses, counselors, hospital system, pediatrics, and Skagit County Health lead to 1) open communication and 2) improved standards of care.
  • Coordinated efforts are best served by joint trainings that can build the skills of participants along with a unified approach to chronic care management.
  • Parents want coordination and communication between schools and their children’s providers.

Leadership team members: Tessa McIlraith, MS, BSN, RN, District Nurse, Rick Levine, MD from Skagit Pediatrics, and Jennifer Sass-Walton, Child and Family Health Manager at Skagit County Public Health