Drake University Calendar

Harkin on Wellness Symposium 2024

Event Summary

The prevalence of mental health issues has increased dramatically in recent years, particularly in the wake of massive social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This led the nation’s leading child health organizations and the US Surgeon General to declare a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, an emergency that has both serious immediate consequences and ominous implications for the future. Though many ideas and approaches have been proposed to address this crisis, it is a challenge to implement any particular solution at a scale significant enough to truly tackle the problem.

We believe the K-12 school system can be a key vehicle for changes that can positively impact children’s wellbeing across the United States. As the location where children spend the largest portion of their time outside of the home, activities at schools that promote wellbeing have been shown to have an important impact on children’s academics and mental health. Not only that, but curricula that engages students in hands-on, collaborative, whole health learning has been shown to improve their own wellbeing, mental health, and academics through their school years and into adulthood.

For this reason, the 2024 Harkin on Wellness Symposium will focus on Wellbeing in Schools. The event will feature innovative approaches to improving health and wellness in schools that can mitigate the challenges facing students, teachers, and school leaders. These approaches include activities like mindfulness practices and spending time outdoors, as well as learning skills through school gardens, teaching kitchens and cognition-bolstering physical education. We will bring together advocates, policymakers, education leaders, teachers, pediatricians, and practice innovators from around the country to address whole child wellbeing approaches, to review the scientifically supported best practices, and to consider the case for placing health and wellbeing squarely at the heart of our education system’s mission to prepare students for successful lives.

Wednesday, April 3 at 9:00am to 4:45pm

Parents Hall