MASBHC Annual Conference Keynote Announced!

Maryland Assembly on School Based Health Care’s 2017 Annual Conference, Building Linkages for Healthier Students, will be held on Thursday May 18th, 2017 at The Meeting House in Columbia, MD.

MASBHC is honored to welcome Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andres Gonzalez, the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation as our keynote speakers for this year’s conference.

The Holistic Life Foundation (HLF) is a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being.

MASBHC’s 2017 Annual Conference will also feature twelve breakout sessions with topics on a variety of mental and somatic health topics as well as focused presentations on policy impact of SBHC’s

A few breakout sessions topics include

  • Addressing Chronic Absenteeism in Baltimore through Linkages and Data
  • School Based Oral Health: A toolbox for Prevention Strategies and Collaboration
  • Improving communication with School Health Councils and Community Pediatricians
  • Trauma Informed Care and Restorative Practices with Immigrant Youth Vulnerable to High Risk Behaviors
  • Sudden Cardiac Death Among Student Athletes: A Game Changer in the Field of Pediatric Medicine
MASBHC 2017 Annual Conference full agenda and registration information will be forthcoming.

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Mindfulness for Adolescents

On Thursday January 26th from 1 to 2pm, please join us for our second installment of the MASBHC Webinars. This month’s webinar,  Mindfulness for Adolescents will focus on discussing mindfulness and how it benefits underserved and marginalized communities. Key takeaways for this webinar will include: the definition of mindfulness, its impact on adolescents, and tips and techniques for teaching and implementing mindfulness in schools.

 Click Here to Register!

Mindfulness for Adolescents is the second of three webinars that MASBHC will host as we lead up to our 2017 Annual Conference, Building Linkages for Healthier Students, to take place on Thursday, May 18th in Columbia, MD. MASBHC’s webinar series is also supported by the Maryland Adolescent Health Collaborative, a partnership between MASBHC and the Amerigroup Foundation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call Yekatit Bezooayehu at or 443.627.3424.

About the speaker…….

Tawanna Kane is a certified yoga teacher and MBSR instructor, who seeks to help individuals and communities, identify and cultivate their internal support systems and resilience. She has created stress reduction and mindfulness curricula for juvenile halls, level III schools and other specialized populations throughout the United States. Her passion is conceptualizing and implementing mindfulness interventions with underserved and marginalized communities. With over 15 years of experience teaching mindfulness, MBSR and yoga, she has served as director of The Lineage ProjectThe Joy Wellness Center at Shepherd’s Clinic and supervised mindfulness-based clinical trials at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. By placing attention on the heart, she hopes to give people tools to be more present in their lives and with each other. Her relationship and love for children is informed by working for over 20 years in the areas of conflict resolution, peer mediation, theatrical expressions and youth development. Her work is synthesized in The Inner Resources Project, an emerging organization, which sets as its mission to help individuals and communities connect with their own humanity and to learn to be in relation to their community. Tawanna’s work has been featured in American Legacy Woman, Yoga Journal, Ascent Magazine and in several films, including The Fire of Yoga and the documentary, Yoga Comes to Brooklyn.

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Montgomery County School Health Council Presentation


Kay Sophar, Nurse Practitioner at Northwood High School


Sapna Hencinski, MASBHC Project Manager

The Maryland Assembly on School Based Health Alliance, alongside Northwood High School, presented at this month’s Montgomery County School Health Council Meeting. The purpose of the presentation was to educate the council on school based health center’s in Maryland and the Hallways to Health program at one of their county’s high schools, Northwood High. Representing MASBHC, Project Manager Sapna Hencinski gave the history and background of Hallways to Health and what the initiative has aimed to accomplish not just here in Maryland, but also among the other states and participating sites.

Kay Sophar, Nurse Practitioner at Northwood High School has been leading the charge for the Hallways to Health initiative in Montgomery County. Kay has been instrumental in the many culture changes that have occurred both within and outside the clinic walls. For this presentation, Kay focused on the highlighting the successes of the school breakfast program, the many protocol changes that have occurred since Hallways to Health began in the clinic back in 2013, and discussing the new mindfulness and yoga program that has begun this school year.

Northwood’s participation in Hallways to Health has allowed the clinic to institute a culture change that has reverberated throughout the clinic and beyond. Thanks to Kay’s hard work, there have been new protocols instituted that required all students seen in the clinic to have their height, weight, and BMI documented. Should their BMI indicate that they are overweight or obese, follow up is conducted with the student and diet and nutrition counseling is offered to them.  The school’s healthy eating culture change has been seen within the clinic by only having healthy and nutritious snacks offered during clinic programs and the hard work of the administration to remove the vending machines that offered high caloric, low nutritional value snacks.

The school breakfast program has allowed the clinic to address the high absentee rate as well as the high level of food insufficiency among students. Breakfast items were provided through a partnership that Northwood’s SBHC began with Nourish Now. Northwood had one of the highest absentee rates in the county and the school breakfast program, taking part in two ESOL classes four days a week, is helping to address the cause of the high absentee rate

The response to the school breakfast program has been overwhelming. Students who were coming sporadically to class began to attend more frequently, there was a difference in energy level among the students, grades began to improve, and students would even save or share food with their peers whom they knew also needed it.

For the 2016-17 school year, Northwood will continue to focus on the school breakfast program but they will also start a mindfulness and yoga program that will begin on Friday December 9th. Mindfulness and meditation sessions will be offered Monday through Thursday. Sessions will be offered as an alternative to detention on Tuesdays and Friday, there will be a meditation session during the life skills class on Wednesday, and there will be an open meditation on Thursday’s during the lunch period for both students and teachers. On Friday, Kay will lead an after school yoga program.  Recently mindfulness programs in schools have been increasing across the county. Meditation and mindfulness for students has led to visible decreases in stress and anxiety and decreases in the number conflicts among students and the number of students sent to detention. We have already seen great success of mindfulness programs right here in Baltimore.

We are so proud to be part of the Hallways to Health team and for all of the Hallways to Health successes at Northwood High School. Thank you to the Montgomery County School Health Council for inviting to present and informing the county of the great work happening at Northwood.


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