Youth as Peer Educators
|San Francisco Wellness Initiative|
The California School-Based Health Alliance launched the youth-friendly Peer Health Insurance Rights Education (PHIRE) program in the fall of 2012 to engage young people in learning about new health insurance options under health care reform.
PHIRE trained high school students to be peer educators so they could speak with other youth about health care reform and health insurance.
The project was operating at four high schools in the Bay Area. Each PHIRE team had 5-7 students who are trained to conduct outreach presentations to 400 youth or young adults from their schools and neighboring communities.
The first half of the 18-hour PHIRE curriculum focuses on training the student advocates on health insurance, health care reform and local insurance options. Students learned about the history of health care in the U.S., the Affordable Care Act, and the options they have for health insurance – both now as minors and in a few years when they transition to adulthood.
The second part of the curriculum provides resources to enrich the professional skills building trainings of the PHIRE program. Students honed their public speaking abilities, learned how to resolve conflicts, and developed skills for forming and facilitating discussions with large groups of people.
Throughout the training, students were introduced to public health professionals and given an overview of different public health career options.
Students became certified PHIRE presenters after passing a two-part exam. The written exam measures students’ knowledge on health insurance and health care reform while the mock presentation assesses students’ public speaking skills.