More than 120 youth from Northern and Southern California attended two separate conferences in March and April that focused on educating high school students about careers in health care. All participants are active members of the youth advisory boards at their school-based health centers.
Youth advisory boards provide students with leadership opportunities through peer health education, school and community advocacy programs, and health care internships and jobs. We developed these one-day conferences in partnership with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development in order to cultivate an interest in health care careers in youth who are served by school-based health centers. Our goal is for students who benefit from school-based health care to pursue a career as a health care provider in order to better serve the needs of California’s kids.
In Los Angeles, 60 LAUSD high school students learned about health care careers and public health challenges that affect their communities, all while meeting fellow youth advisory board members from other schools. The L.A. Trust helped us organize the March 28 conference, which was hosted by The California Endowment at their beautiful downtown L.A. headquarters.
In Oakland, we brought together 66 students from high schools in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, and San Jose. The April 9 NorCal conference was also graciously hosted by The California Endowment at their Oakland conference center. Students participated in the following activities throughout the day:
- A keynote address by Dr. Tomás A. Magaña, founder and Director of the FACES of the Future Coalition.
- Panel conversations with adults who are either pursuing a career in public health or already practicing. Panelists included two physicians, a medical assistant pursuing a nursing degree, a family nurse, and two health educators.
- An overview of mental health disorders presented by NAMI California.
- A workshop on how to advocate for healthier school lunch choices, presented by the Youth Wellness Team at Oakland Tech High School.
- Workshops on public speaking and applying to medical school, presented by our Youth Board.
- A health career resource fair staffed by the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership.
Our 2014 conferences build on our successful 2013 events and are a continuation of our work to develop the capacity of school-based health center youth advisory boards. Are you interested in learning how you can build youth engagement at your school-based health center? Contact us to learn more.