Skagit County Team Concludes Second Chronic Condition Management Grant

Colleen McCarty, MPH, WCAAP Program Manager

This month, WCAAP concluded its second community grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to advance chronic condition management in schools. More than 14 million school-aged youth – encompassing almost 20% of the school-aged population – are affected by chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, food allergies, and seizure disorders. Schools’ roles 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 for the second year in a row, WCAAP partnered with the same Skagit County team to hold two in-person school nurse meetings on topics related to chronic condition management in schools. In February, a specialist from Seattle Children’s Hospital presented epilepsy updates and led a discussion about seizure response and seizure action plans. At the May meeting, Skagit County’s Chief of Emergency Management presented on emergency preparedness and considerations for students with chronic health conditions in emergency response efforts. Resources shared by guest speakers included:

A highlight from this year’s project was the addition of Skagit Parent to Parent (P2P) to the project team. P2P provides support to parents and caregivers of children with special needs, and P2P partner Heather Milliren played a key role in bringing parent perspectives to the school nurse meetings. Milliren conducted one-on-one interviews, distributed surveys, and brought one parent to share their story at each school nurse meeting. These parent perspectives brought much-needed family voice to the sessions and sparked discussion on how schools can best support students’ and families’ needs.

The Skagit team plans to continue with educational sessions during the 2024-2025 school year and is working on a plan to expand their outreach and participation. Thanks to its partnership with Skagit Parent to Parent, the team hopes to include more parents in next year’s meetings, and also involve more local medical providers in discussions.

Special thanks to the project team: Rick Levine (Skagit Pediatrics), Tessa McIlraith (Burlington-Edison School District), Heather Milliren (Skagit P2P), and Jennifer Sass-Walton (Skagit County Health Department).

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