The SRS, in partnership with the AASM and the Centers for Disease Control, is actively engaged in an effort to increase public and provider awareness about the importance of sleep for health. The "National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project" has, as its long term objectives, the aim to improve knowledge of sleep health and sleep disorders among identified populations.
This new program had its first face-to-face meeting on February 7th, at the AASM/SRS head office in Darien, IL, bringing together partners that form program workgroups. Twenty-four participants attended the meeting, from the three founding partners and three additional partner organizations. The program was designed to move Healthy People 2020 objectives forward and includes three workgroups that are steered by a Strategic Planning group, for which I serve as chair.
The three workgroups include a Public Communication workgroup chaired by R. Bart Sangal, M.D., of the Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine; a Provider Education workgroup chaired by Allan Pack, MBChB, PhD, of the SRS, and a Surveillance and Epidemiology workgroup chaired by Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. of the AASM. Each of these workgroups has a special task for which partner organizations will work together to achieve.
The Public Communication workgroup is tasked with disseminating information on healthy sleep and sleep disorders to the general public, the Provider Education Workgroup is responsible for refining and implementing the plan for educating non-sleep medical professionals about sleep disorders and screening methods. The Surveillance and Epidemiology Workgroup is tasked with adding items to surveillance tools to facilitate optimal tracking of this project's impact.
These groups have begun their focus on HP2020 Objective 1, the dissemination of sleep apnea and general sleep health information. The next focus will be on HP2020 Objective 3, to increase the proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 who get sufficient sleep, and following that, work will turn to HP2020 Objective 4, increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep and HP202 Objective 2 reducing drowsy driving related to vehicular crashes.
This new program, made possible by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (our Executive Director Jerome Barrett is PI; our society staff lead, John Noel, is Program Manager), represents an important opportunity for moving awareness of the importance of sleep health forward. The SRS is proud to partner in this mission and will begin to involve its committees to help accomplish the goals of this program, as they pertain to the SRS goals of scientific understanding of sleep and circadian factors in health, safety and optimal functioning, and its aim to disseminate that science based knowledge.
Janet Mullington, PhD