Head Start Health Managers Descriptive Study, 2011-2016

The goals of the Head Start Health Manager Descriptive Survey include 1) to describe the characteristics of Health Managers and related staff in Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) programs; 2) to identify the current landscape of health programs and services being offered to children and families; 3) to determine how health initiatives are prioritized, implemented, and sustained; and 4) to identify the programmatic features and policy levers that exist to support health services including staffing, environment, and community collaboration.

These objectives were accomplished through an online survey of all HS/EHS Health Managers, including American Indian/Alaskan Native and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs that focused on:

  • the demographic characteristics and professional background of the Health Managers and related staff;
  • the health assessments, services and community linkages offered to child and families by the HS/EHS program;
  • the interactions between the Health Mangers, other HS/EHS staff, and the Health Services Advisory Committee;
  • opportunities for professional development and capacity building of HS/EHS health staff;
  • how Health Managers prioritize, implement, monitor, evaluate, and sustain health initiatives; and
  • the community and policy context within which they operate.

The survey response were further informed by semi-structured interviews conducted with a subsample of Health Managers, teachers, and family services workers. In addition to primary data collection, the study built a geo-coded database with measures of health and the determinants of health to provide context for the analyses of the quantitative and qualitative data. The project was informed by a Technical Workgroup that provided input on the study design, implementation, analysis, and final products. A Tribal Expert Workgroup was formed to review analysis, reporting, and dissemination of the final products.

Related Resources

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  1. In what ways do Head Start/Early Head Start programs support family engagement in health-related aspects of program services?
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  1. What is the perceived burden of overweight and obesity on Head Start/Early Head Start programs?
  2. What health programming (e.g., services, activities, education) and policies are currently in place to address overweight and obesity?..

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Health services have been a priority for Head Start since its inception and remain a core need for the more than 1 million children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs each year...