The AAP Committee on School Health was established soon after the Academy began in the mid-1930s. For nearly 75 years, the Committee on School Health served as the authority on matters of school health and was responsible for developing the Academy's early policy on related matters. These policies addressed a wide range of issues affecting pediatricians and schools including, health and illness management issues as they relate to the school and to the child's educational potential, as well as the pediatrician's role in the school setting.
The Section on School Health was founded in 1987 to support its members, general pediatricians and other pediatric health care professionals in their work to improve the care of children in school. The Section worked closely with the Committee on initiatives to provide support and education for physicians working in or with schools on various issues. Each year, the Section offered enlightening educational programs at the AAP annual meetings and met to discuss and develop new ideas to improve the care of children during the school day.
The Committee and Section were also responsible for publishing two major AAP publications, School Health: Policy and Practice and Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools. They also worked closely with other AAP groups to develop other major publications.
In 2005 these entities merged to create the Council. This single entity provides greater synergy between the work of the Committee and Section - policy, programming and ultimately practice. Led by the COSH Executive Committee, the council is responsible for policy development, dissemination, implementation and education. The COSH consults to the AAP Board of Directors and other AAP committees, sections, councils and task forces on related issues.
Each year, the Council offers a one-day educational program at the National Conference and Exhibition that focuses on recently published or forthcoming policy statements and other topics of interests to pediatricians working with or in schools. Recent topics have included, drug testing in schools, school food programs, preventing and treating homesickness, mental health, confidentiality issues, and sexuality education. During this program, the council holds its annual business meeting and also presents its two service awards, the Milton JE Senn Award and the Martin C Ushkow Award.
Since the merger, the COSH Executive Committee has continually sought to fulfill its goal to better link general pediatricians (particularly by way of the chapters) to Academy leadership by providing greater opportunity for members to become involved on key matters related to school health.