The Student Health Survey is the sole source of statewide data on the health and
of Oregon youth.
There is a strong, well-established link between health and learning. Students’
health impacts attendance, test scores, and the ability to pay attention in class.
Emotional, social and physical health problems can become barriers to learning,
making it more difficult for students to be academically, socially, emotionally,
or behaviorally successful. Addressing the health and well-being of the whole child
can go a long way to support achievement in school. This report provides a glimpse
into the health and well-being of 6th, 8th and 11th graders in Oregon. Young people
need the support of caring adults to help them navigate their roles, relationships
and responsibilities. Information from this report will help your schools and communities
identify strengths and areas to work on to better meet the needs of your student
Healthy kids learn better. Students who are happy, healthy and avoid risky behaviors
are more likely to be successful in school and life. It is difficult for students
to do well in school when they are depressed, anxious, tired, bullied, abused, discriminated
against, stressed, sick, hungry, gambling, vaping or using alcohol or other drugs.
Youth are less likely to engage in risky behaviors when they are connected to parents,
family, school and the community. Establishing healthy lifestyles for Oregon youth
leads to improved learning in the classroom and longer, healthier and more productive
lives for Oregon’s population. Keeping students healthy involves engaging families,
school administrators, school nurses or school health and mental health staff, teachers,
students, and communities to help create a healthy learning environment that promotes
students’ physical, social and emotional well-being.
The SHS is fundamental to understanding what it takes for young people to arrive
at adulthood with the skills, interests, assets, and health habits needed to live
healthy, happy, and productive lives in caring relationships with other people.
The information gathered in the survey enables schools and communities to know what
proportion of their young people are developing successfully and what proportion
are facing challenges. It allows them to assess whether the things they are doing
are improving outcomes for young people.
The SHS helps Oregonians assess students’ current health and safety habits so that
improvements can be made where needed. Establishing healthy lifestyles for Oregon
youth leads to improved learning in the classroom and longer, healthier and more
productive lives for Oregon’s population. The survey was designed to assess a wide
range of topics that include school climate and culture, positive youth development,
physical, sexual, mental, social, and emotional health, substance use, problem gambling,
safety, and other risky behaviors.
The SHS is designed to address:
- Student health and safety
- Student mental and behavioral health
- School climate and culture
- The impact of COVID-19
- Risk-taking behaviors
Oregon's Student Health Survey (SHS) is a collaborative effort with the Oregon Department
of Education to improve the health and well-being of all Oregon students to help
them succeed. The SHS is a comprehensive, school-based, anonymous and voluntary
health survey of 6th, 8th and 11th graders. It is a key part of statewide efforts
to help local schools and communities ensure that all Oregon youth are healthy and
The 2020 SHS replaces OHA’s two previous youth surveys, the Oregon Healthy Teens
Survey (OHT) and the Oregon Student Wellness Survey (SWS). The integration of the
two youth surveys into the SHS is part of OHA’s ongoing modernization efforts to
enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Oregon’s public health system. This
reduces the burden in terms of time and resources asked of schools and students,
simplify the assessment process, and improve data consistency.
To ensure the SHS provides value to partners and stakeholders, OHA staff conducted
educational partner engagement sessions, key informant interviews and focus groups
in 2018 and 2019 among district and school administrators, youth advisory and policy
organizations and students to improve the survey content and process to administer
Youth surveys help state and local agencies that provide adolescent programs and
services know what prevention efforts are working and which need improvement. State
and local agencies depend on youth data to assess youth needs, develop comprehensive
plans and prevention programs, solicit funding, and measure outcomes. The SHS will
be an important tool that schools, communities, and state and local agencies can
all use in coordinated efforts to help students achieve their full potential.
The SHS provides a snapshot of how students are doing physically, emotionally and
socially. Educators and school staff recognize that the success of Oregon students
is impacted by factors outside of the classroom. Protective factors, such as supportive
adults at school, lead to better health and education outcomes. Traumatic stress,
hunger, mental health challenges, bullying and lack of access to necessary medical
and mental health care make it difficult for Oregon youth to reach their full potential.
The SHS is the largest youth-centered Oregon survey that obtains information directly
from students with a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, incomes, geographic
locations, identities, and cultures.
Data are foundational for identifying disparities and monitoring progress. Youth
surveys help state and local agencies that provide adolescent programs and services
know what prevention efforts are working and which need improvement. State and local
agencies depend on youth data to assess youth needs, develop comprehensive plans
and prevention programs, solicit funding, and measure outcomes. The SHS is an important
tool that schools, communities, and state and local agencies can all use in coordinated
efforts to help students achieve their full potential.
Data analysis often focuses on disparities and gaps to guide our work. But data
and statistics alone fail to capture the rich history and culture of many communities.
Participatory analysis can provide community-led insight and context to better explain
the whys of survey results.
Oregon – The 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan
The purpose of Healthier Together Oregon is to advance health
Vision: Oregon will be a place where health and wellbeing are achieved across the
lifespan for people of all races, ethnicities, disabilities, genders, sexual orientations,
socioeconomic status, nationalities and geographic locations.
Health disparities reflect historical and structural racism. Survey data can help
determine where disparities exist, what might be done to close the gaps, and measure
progress towards achieving equity and social justice.
Because of systemic oppression, discrimination and bias, people of color, people
with low-income, people who identify as LGBTQ2IA+, people with disabilities, and
people who live in rural areas of the state face considerable barriers due to inequities
in the social issues that affect health.
Healthier Together Oregon (HTO) is Oregon’s 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan
(SHIP) that identifies our state’s health priorities with strategies that will lead
to improved outcomes. HTO’s primary goal is to achieve health equity. HTO informs
community health improvement plans and state agency policies, partnerships and investments.
The following are priority populations for HTO, which also generally align with
the priority populations of the Oregon Department of Education’s Student Success
- Black, Indigenous, people of color, and Tribal Communities
- People with low incomes
- People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/non-binary, queer and
- People with disabilities
- People living in rural areas of the state
HTO identifies strategies to advance health equity in five priorities that are upstream
determinants of health, affect some communities more than others, and have a major
effect on our health. The 2020 Student Health Survey (SHS) includes measures that
relate to four of the five priorities:
- Institutional bias (not measured by SHS)
- Adversity, trauma and toxic stress
- Behavioral health (including mental health and substance use)
- Economic drivers of health (including issues related to housing, living wage, food
security and transportation)
- Access to equitable preventive health care