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Record breaking school attendence

A program to reduce children’s health barriers so that they can focus on learning in Harlem, New York, has been a great success. The attendance at the school has reached record numbers, and the initiative can be replicated by other schools.

School children

16 million children in the US live in poverty, and these children are the most vulnerable when it comes to diagnosing and following up health-related barriers to learning. Easily treatable health issues become a big problem for many of these children; a child who’s been awake all night with an asthma attack can’t focus on math, a child who can’t see the blackboard can’t keep up in spelling.


Untreated health problems like these are ultimately keeping children in low-income communities from achieving their dreams. Together with Children’s Health Fund and The Earth Institute we have developed a program to screen the children for health-related barriers to learning and then connected them with the care they need. The project has also worked on teacher and parent engagement to give the adults around the children the tools they need to help address these health-related learning barriers.


The next steps of the program is to work to scale up and reach more public schools in New York City while also preparing the model to be tested and scaled nationally. The aim is to prove that by addressing health-related barriers to learning in a holistic way with all stakeholders involved; health care, students, parents and schools, the attendance and ultimately the learning among these children can be improved.