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During the late 1960s and early 1970s, awareness of the American public's need for improved education in disease prevention increased, due in part to escalating medical costs and to the fact that relatively little attention had been focused on the concept of wellness, or on health promotion, either by the individual or by the community. With the emerging concern for health promotion came recognition of the fragmented, uncoordinated, and under-financed state of health education. Interest in developing a positive, nationwide strategy to help Americans gain control of their own health through informed action led to the formation of the President's Committee on Health Education in September, 1971. After thoughtful consideration, analysis, and solicitation of advice from hundreds of individuals and organizations over a two-year period, this Committee formed recommendations aimed at "raising the level of health citizenship.

The principal recommendation expressed a mandate to create a unique institution to play a leadership role in the private sector. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare funded a feasibility study under the supervision of the National Health Council, and on October 1, 1975, the National Center for Health Education was established. Its blueprint structured NCHE as a flexible, problem-solving mechanism in health education which would encompass five major functions:

  • Advocacy of health education
  • Convening of health educators
  • Technical assistance for health educators
  • Research and evaluation of health information
  • Information exchange

For the past 20 years, NCHE has served these functions, helping people, especially children, to gain control of their own health through education and action.

NCHE Progress and Achievements:
October 1975 - First meeting of the NCHE Board of Directors
1975 - Opens temporary offices at National Health Council; receives initial funding for operations from the Kellogg Foundation and from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
1976 - Hires first full-time president and moves offices to San Francisco, CA
1977 - Conducts regional meetings of professionals to explore community health education, patient education, workplace health promotion, and health planning; begins two-year assessment of public education programs on cancer
1978 - Assumes national leadership of the School Health Curriculum Project; convenes scholars, under sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Humanities, for a series of conversations on wellness and health in our society; initiates the Health Education Role Delineation Project
1979 - Conducts demonstration project on hypertension education, training, and evaluation; manages communications for Regional Forums on Community Health promotion; performs analysis that provides the basis for the School Health Curriculum Project to become the first health education program validated by the National Diffusion Network of the U.S. Department of Education
1980 - Completes Phase II of the Role Delineation Project
1981 - Receives funding from W.K. Kellogg Foundation for School and College initiative to promote education for health in academic and school settings; publishes Improving the Chances for Health: Some New Approaches to Lifestyle Change and Health Education
1982 - Begins initiative to promote workplace health education, funded by Exxon Corporation, IBM, and Equitable Life; NCHE helps form the National School Health Coalition; moves offices to New York City
1983 - Publishes Education for Health: The Selective Guide, and Small Business and Health Promotion: The Prospects Look Good; launches NCHE Associate Networking Communication Initiative
1984 - School Health Curriculum Project is renamed Growing Healthy and revised for large city school systems; publishes first two issues of Center magazine; establishes Publications Revolving Fund with support of Exxon Corporation
1985 - W.K. Kellogg Foundation contributes $2 million grant to NCHE for networking and communication initiative; first issue of HealthLink magazine published; first annual Edwin C. Whitehead Award dinner; NCHE press established with publication of How Healthy Is Your School?
1986 - The first Edwin C. Whitehead Forum held in New York City; NCHE Council is established to advise NCHE Board of Directors on program activities; NCHE publishes monograph Growing Healthy In Big Cities; third issue of HealthLink magazine; Growing Healthy, a videotape, is disseminated
1987 - Second Annual Whitehead Forum about Minority Health is co-sponsored with Campbell's Institute for Health and Fitness, held in Atlanta, Georgia
1988 - President's Committee reconvenes and supports continuation of NCHE as major leader of health education with emphasis on children, youth, and school health education; NCHE and Harvard School of Public Health hold monthly luncheons for members of the media to discuss methods for researching and reporting on health issues; NCHE Press publishes Building a Healthy America: Conquering Disease and Disability in collaboration with the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, and Exxon Corporation; NCHE receives copyright for Growing Healthy
1989 - NCHE and Annenberg Center for Health Sciences conduct a national forum addressing ethical issues in advertising of health-related products; Club 2000 established to raise funds to support the provision of comprehensive health education for all by the year 2000
1990-1995 - NCHE, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, implements a campaign, called Building Community Coalitions, to assist local communities in building coalitions to promote comprehensive school health programs to support the work of parents, educators, and administrators at the local level
1991-1992 - Healthy Environment-Healthy Me, a product of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (sponsored by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University), is field tested in 23 Growing Healthy schools throughout the United States. Growing Healthy teachers are enthusiastic about using the curriculum to enhance the relationship between science and health and to encourage students to take greater responsibility for making decisions about their own health, environmental health, and the occupational health of their communities.
1993-1995 - NCHE initiates the second major revision of Growing Healthy to keep the curriculum at the cutting edge of health information and teaching technology. The revision process includes extended research of the compelling issues which children face today, interviews with teachers, full editorial revision of lessons and activities, and fully updated art and graphic design.
1995 - Supported by the Metropolitan Life Foundation, youth counselors across the country now have access to NCHE's guidebook for counselors on HIV/AIDS. During the summer of 1995, a pilot training program for teachers and counselors is conducted utilizing the guide. Participants are provided with information about adolescent health issues and the tools to answer teens' questions about their health.
1995 - The Colgate University InterFraternity Council sponsors an NCHE designed forum for parents, caregivers, teachers, administrators, health professionals, and the local community about current health and family issues, focusing on parent/child interaction and improving communication. The fraternities donate 500 of the NCHE publication, Preventing Violence: Parents and Caregivers Can Make A Difference, to the parents of all children enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grades at the Hamilton Central School.
1995- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services names NCHE the official sponsor of National Health Education Week, which is celebrated annually during the third week in October. NCHE chooses a theme each year and collaborates with other organizations to develop and disseminate information to the public.
1995-1996 - With funding from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, NCHE, in collaboration with the Educational Development Center, Inc., began researching, developing, and field testing a kindergarten through grade 12 comprehensive sexuality education curriculum. An expert advisory committee is convened to guide and review development, thus assuring a developmentally appropriate curriculum.
1996 - With funding from the Metropolitan Life Foundation, NCHE began developing a comprehensive health education program for pre-school students called Starting Healthy. The program prepares children with a base for competency in health promoting skills and a sense of self-efficacy.
1999 - Growing Healthy: Youth, Parents, and Communities Project is announced. Through a five-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), NCHE develops youth and parent programming, and community partnerships to help schools prevent behaviors that place all young people at risk for health-related problems including HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and violence.
1999 - NCHE develops an interdisciplinary curriculum to accompany the Bancroft Arnesen Expedition, the first all-women's crossing of Antarctica on skis. The Bancroft Arnesen Expedition Curriculum is made available free on the internet and on CD-ROM.
2000 - NCHE announces the appointment of Nasco as the exclusive distributor of the Growing Healthy curriculum and peripherals. Nasco functions as the marketing, sales, and shipping agent for all Growing Healthy curriculum products and peripherals. NCHE, as manager of the curriculum, continues its important role of keeping the curriculum current to reflect the constantly changing student needs in the health education market. Nasco gives NCHE a portion of peripheral sales to support curriculum development, research, and program development. In addition, NCHE derives income from curriculum sales.
2001 - NCHE names John P. Allegrante, Ph.D., Professor of Health Education and Director of the Center for Health Promotion at Teachers College, Columbia University, its new President and CEO.

WELCOME to the communities section of the Growing Healthy: Youth, Parents and Communities Initiative. This section of our site is for all members of the community - business representatives, faith leaders, elders, agency members, and community leaders - who are interested in helping children to lead a happy, healthy and productive life. This section features innovative ideas for potential school-health-community partnerships. Be sure to check out the One-on-One School-Community Relationships link, which describes just a few of the mutual benefits to communities when they reach out to local schools. You can also find information on the importance of establishing and staying in touch with you area community-school health council.

This section provides some ways in which business and communities can get involved in their local schools. Under Community-School Health Councils, information is provided on development of school health councils, including a rationale for establishing councils, potential community members to partner with, and activities that can be used throughout the process. Under Building Business Support for Health Education, members of the business community can find out the importance of their role in coordinated school health programming, ways in which they can get involved, and other business and community organizations working with NCHE.

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