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Health Courses at The Academy

Elevate your impact with our specialized training classes tailored for those in Head Start health services. For mental health specialists to ERSEA and health managers, our courses offer essential skills and knowledge to enhance your expertise. Whether you are new to Head Start or an experienced professional looking to enhance your expertise, The Academy can help you to stay ahead with expert-led sessions covering the latest in health education, emergency response, nutrition, and more.

Health Courses Description PD Hours Included in A+
Health Services Essentials

This course provides an overview of all things related to providing high-quality health services to Head Start and Early Head Start children and their families.

Early Childhood Health Services Basics

Head Start Basics Series:

Health and wellbeing serve as the foundation of school readiness and child development. This course explores how early childhood programs can use Head Start’s whole-child approach to support children, families, and communities on their paths to success.

Bloodborne Pathogens Safety Basics

Head Start Basics Series:

Children and adults in early care and education programs can be infected with serious viruses or bacteria and not even know it. This course explores best practices from the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to mitigate the potential of this serious risk.

Health Service Certification

This certification provides health service staff the opportunity to demonstrate competency of the essential skills that support children’s health and wellbeing in a developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate manner.

Nutrition Courses Description PD Hours Included in A+
Promoting Good Health and Nutrition

CDA Renewal Series

This course is designed to support CDA renewal for both Preschool and Infant & Toddler credential types.

Nutrition Basics

Enhance and expand your nutrition-based programming both in the classroom and for families at home.


What is A+?

A+ is short for Academy+

A+ is NHSA's comprehensive solution to prepare your Head Start program for the future and meet approximately the Office of Head Start professional development requirements.

Webinar: Health Services Certification Info Session

Do you want to earn your health services certification? Watch this 45-minute Certification info session and hear directly from a graduate!

Watch Now

Featured Faculty

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. B served as director of the Office of Head Start from 2018-21. From 2019-21 she broadened her leadership as director of the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Administration for Children and Families. Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and school administrator. She currently serves as deputy director for Community Engagement and Innovation at the National Head Start Association.

Jackie Rivera

Jackie Rivera

Jackie has been a Health Administrator at a Head Start in central Missouri for over 10 years and is a Certified Community Action Professional. Before becoming a nurse, Jackie spent 10 years as an early childhood education teacher. Jackie oversees health and safety at her agency and is project manager for the agency's Childhood Obesity and Diabetes Prevention Project and Women and Infant Relief Program. Jackie is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Child Development Associate, and Lactation Counselor. Jackie is certified to train in many topics, such as Compassion Fatigue, CPR/First Aid Motivational Interviewing, I Am Moving, I Am Learning, Family Wellness, Infant Massage, Mind in The Making, and Experiential Facilitation. Jackie has had the honor of being named for a National Child Plus Community Service Award and received MOCAN Healthcare Profession Award.

Zuly Vazquez

Zuly Vazquez

Zuly Vazquez is the senior manager of Early Head Start Professional Development. She has worked with Head Start and Early Head Start programs for over a decade, specializing in training, mentoring, coaching, facilitation, curriculum implementation, and management. She worked for several years in the classroom, providing high-quality education to children from different cultures, traditions, and ethnicities. She is a former Head Start parent and has vast experience supporting and providing technical assistance to teachers, family child care providers, education specialists, and families in large programs in Florida and Georgia. Over her career, she designed a supplemental Christian early childhood curriculum, bilingual online lessons, and classroom observation tools and has facilitated early childhood education courses in English and Spanish at the college level. As an active early childhood advocate, she is part of the advisory committee of her local NAEYC affiliate, the Family Child Care Home Alliance of Georgia, and Latinas United for the Children of America.


"I learned more than I thought I would. I'd definitely encourage you to take part in the experience! I have nothing, but positive things to say."

- Health Essentials learner

"If you want to learn more about the agency that you work for, then you should take advantage of The Academy. Take the Health Service Credential, you will learn more about the reasonings for policy and procedures."

– Health Service Certification completer

"I have learned so much overall from this course and I now have the confidence to now apply this to my position."

– Health Service Certification completer

"The most valuable part is becoming more familiar with the Head Start Program Performance Standards and learning how your program applies them."

– Health Service Certification completer