NEWS // October 23, 2018

HealthLink North County Creates Collaborations for North San Diego County Schools

Stephanie Ferro, Graduate Student Worker, Health and Human Services Agency, North County Regions

For almost 20 years, HealthLink North County has helped form collaborative partnerships between organizations, schools and school districts throughout the North County region. HealthLink North County is a public/private partnership that focuses on school health and wellness to improve the health and education outcomes of school-aged children.

HealthLink North County participants include school staff from all 25 North County school districts, as well as representatives from community clinics, mental health providers, local and countywide community-based programs, and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

HealthLink North County is led by HHSA Community Health Promotion Specialist Melissa Roberts and North County HealthLink nurses Debal Acquaro and Dianne Bourque. Bi-monthly meetings are conducted throughout the school year and include presentations from various programs and organizations throughout the county. Meeting participants have the opportunity to network, share, and obtain different resources related to school-age health and wellness. E-newsletters, which include information about upcoming meetings, events, resources, and funding opportunities, are shared monthly with the over 300 HealthLink North County participants.

“HealthLink North County is about making connections,” said Roberts. “Being able to see that someone we brought in to present at a HealthLink meeting is able to connect with someone at the school district and provide a resource that's going to help the students and the families, that is what I really like about it.”

Acquaro and Bourque are public health nurses that work with North County schools and districts to address health and wellness issues that affect children’s attendance and performance at school. They connect with school nurses regularly, whether it be through the bi-monthly meetings or separate meetings, to ensure that students and families have what they need for success.

Presenters for the bi-monthly meetings are based on timely topics of interest as well as connections from team members. Previous presentations have featured Cal Fresh, Share the Care – Dental Health Initiative, 5-2-1-0 Everyday! Healthy Habits for Healthy Communities, and Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving School Initiative.

 “Because of this collaborative, we have also been able to make connections that have led to some of the North County school districts becoming Live Well San Diego partners,” said Roberts. “Partnership is a great way for HealthLink participants to connect with other community-based organizations, and it is a great way to get information out to a broader group of people.

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The following HealthLink North County school districts are Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners: