248291 Empowering peer leaders to build healthy communities: Healthy Girls, Healthy Women

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hye Won Lee, MPH , Training and Capacity Building, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Sharon Odametey, MPH , Training and Capacity Building/ Community Health Sciences/ Epidemiology, Health Resources in Action/ Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Laurie Jo Wallace, MA , Training and Capacity Building, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Healthy Girls, Healthy Women (HGHW) is an initiative that empowers girls and young women in a youth-focused education and advocacy program that promotes healthy nutrition, physical activity, positive body image and healthy relationships to become powerful agents of change in their communities. HGHW was developed in 2005 to address the health disparities that exist in Boston neighborhoods that are disproportionally affected by illnesses associated with obesity and overweight.

Health Resources in Action partners with youth-serving agencies in targeted neighborhoods to identify girls, ages 13-18, as peer leaders who are then trained through an extensive 30-hour training program to acquire leadership skills and knowledge around various health topics. After the completion of the training, the peer leaders demonstrate leadership ability by developing and implementing workshops for other girls at their respective agencies.

The peer leaders and HGHW workshop participants then develop and execute community-based advocacy projects at their respective agencies. Because they feel empowered and supported in learning leadership skills and increasing their knowledge and skills about physical, mental and emotional health, the HGHW participants are able to convey their increased awareness of nutrition and physical activity and identify themselves as effective agents of change in their larger communities.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
* Identify effective ways to engage female adolescents in health promotion and advocacy work. * Describe the impact of peer leadership model on youth developmental outcomes. * Identify creative methods to address health disparities that exist among girls in urban neighborhoods.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage the Healthy Girls, Healthy Women program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.