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Head Start Health Advisory Groups as Catalysts for Collaborative Change

by Emmalie Dropkin and Jamie Bonczyk
January/February 2016
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/head-start-health-advisory-groups--as-catalysts-for-collaborative-change/5022776/

While early childhood education is critical, children who aren’t healthy often struggle to be successful in their early learning settings. Children in poverty are at higher risk than most of not having regular medical and dental homesand access to follow-up care, particularly in the first few years of life when development is so crucial for long-term outcomes. Because of this, Head Start programs in communities across the country create Health Advisory Committees where program staff and families collaborate with medical professionals and other stakeholders to address the most pressing health needs in their local areas. Even among Head Start programs, Parents in Community Action, Inc. (PICA) in the greater Minneapolis area of Minnesota stands out for its innovative and wide-ranging partnerships.

In the greater Minneapolis area, children in poverty may have limited access to health and early education services, especially those children who need services most. According to the Advancing Health Equity Legislative Report created by the Minnesota Department
of Health:

"Minnesota is deemed one of the healthiest states in the country. However, a statewide assessment has found that not all Minnesotans have the same chances to be healthy. Those with less money, and populations of color and American Indians, consistently ...

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