Docs Adopt Initiative


Why become a School-based Health Advocate in your community?


Population-level interventions addressing health behavior, the physical environment, and health equity are needed to effectively impact patient quality of life and longevity. According to a large 2016 County Health Rankings study, direct clinical care accounts for only 10-20% of modifiable contributors to healthy outcomes in the population.1


The U.S. Surgeon General, The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine recommend that physicians (as part of their responsibility to the community) should:

  • Advocate for social, economic, educational, and political changes that contribute to population health and wellbeing2,3
  • Advocate for institutional (school), community, and state level strategies that can improve physical activity and nutrition resources for their patients and communities4
  • Serve as role models for healthful eating and regular physical activity5
  • Advocate for childhood obesity prevention in local schools and communities and join school wellness committees6
  • Work with schools and other sectors to promote mental health and well-being of children.7


What is Docs Adopt?


Docs Adopt partners physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants with local schools to serve on the school wellness committee. This offers physicians a structured opportunity to provide support, knowledge, and motivation to schools as they implement evidence-based strategies and promote a culture of wellness. There are no clinical responsibilities or services rendered as part of this volunteer role.


What is the time commitment to participate?


School wellness committees are encouraged to meet a minimum (and average) of four times per school year. Wellness committee meetings typically occur in the after school or evening hours in person or virtually. In addition to attending school wellness committee meetings, you may elect to support other health programming at your school based on your interest and the school needs.


How Do I Adopt A School?


Please fill out this Volunteer Interest Form to start volunteering with the Docs Adopt Program. 





1. Hood CM, Gennuso KP, Swain GR, Catlin BB. County Health Rankings: Relationships Between Determinant Factors and Health Outcomes. Am J Prev Med. Feb 2016;50(2):129-35. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2015.08.024

2. American Medical Association. Declaration of Professional Responsibility: Medicine's Social Contract with Humanity. Mo Med. May 2002;99(5):195.

3. AAFP Integration of Primary Care and Public Health Work Group. AAFP Integration of Primary Care and Public Health Position Paper. 2015. Accessed 8-20-2020.

4. Institute of Medicine. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. The National Academies Press; 2012:478.

5. Institute of Medicine. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. The National Academies Press; 2005:434.

6. Daniels SR, Hassink SG. The Role of the Pediatrician in Primary Prevention of Obesity. Pediatrics. Jul 2015;136(1):e275-92.doi:10.1542/peds.2015-1558

7. Office of the Surgeon General. (2021). Protecting youth mental health: the US surgeon general’s advisory. surgeon-general-youth-mental-health-advisory.pdf (