The Michigan Journey Toward Coordinated School Health
  • Laurie Bechhofer
  • Barbara Flis
  • Kyle Guerrant
  • Kimberly Kovalchick


Schools provide an incredible opportunity to improve the current and future health and well-being of young people. A captive audience of young people in our nation's schools awaits health knowledge and guidance from trusted adults. Schools are the best places to promote healthy lifestyles and to provide the primary and secondary prevention needed to avoid and detect diseases that are the predictors of future health. The construct of school systems is conducive to a holistic or coordinated approach to school health. In Michigan, as in other states, health in the school setting is a challenge as schools undergo continued pressure to focus on learning and greater academic achievement. While schools often see the need, it does not always equate to making health a core mission. Yet, optimism for a healthier future is not based on desire or hope, but on more than two decades of collaborative work among Michigan's school health champions. They speak with conviction that the future health status of Michigan's children is positive. However, no one would say that he or she is completely satisfied with school health in Michigan. The concept of continuous improvement and being “a work in progress” is deeply embedded and has contributed to many school health successes. This case study follows Michigan's development of school health from its early stages to the important work of building an infrastructure and the events and innovations that became powerful forces for change. The case concludes with insights and lessons learned.


School District School Health Sexual Minority Youth Youth Risk Behavior Survey Healthy School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Additional thanks to Carolyn Fisher, EdD, CHES, and Nancy Haney, MA, for their thoughtful edits on the chapter


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Bechhofer
    • 1
  • Barbara Flis
    • 2
  • Kyle Guerrant
    • 1
  • Kimberly Kovalchick
    • 1
  1. 1.Coordinated School Health and Safety Programs Unit, Grants Coordination and School SupportMichigan Department of EducationLansingUSA
  2. 2.Parent Action for Healthy KidsFarmington HillsUSA

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