Online Program

Healthy girls, healthy women: Girls empowering other girls to live healthily

Monday, November 4, 2013

Daisy Ortega, MEd, Training and Capacity Building Department, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Laurie Jo Wallace, MA, Training and Capacity Building, The Medical Foundation, Boston, MA
Healthy Girls, Healthy Women (HGHW) is an initiative that empowers girls and young women to become powerful agents of change in their communities via a youth-focused leadership and health education program that promotes healthy eating, physical activity, positive body image and healthy relationships. HGHW was developed in 2005 to address the health disparities that exist in Boston neighborhoods that are disproportionally affected by illnesses associated with obesity. HGHW uses a peer leadership model in which teen girls are trained to lead workshops for peers and younger girls. Peer Leaders are recruited from target neighborhoods and trained on public speaking and various health topics. After completion of the 24-hour training, the Peer Leaders develop their leadership skills by creating and implementing workshops for other girls, aged 12-18, at local youth-serving organizations. Peer Leaders also plan and host two community events to further promote health and wellness in their neighborhoods and to empower them to be agents of change in their communities. Finally, Peer Leaders are supported in setting and meeting personal health goals. Last year, HGHW directly trained and supported seven high school aged Peer Leaders. These Peer Leaders reached around 250 girls throughout Boston, via their workshop series and community event. In summer 2012, 74% of participants reported gaining knowledge on how to make healthier choices. HGHW's peer leadership model and youth development approach are highly effective at conveying culturally competent health information to youth and developing girls into leaders in their communities.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Program planning
Public health or related education

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

Keyword(s): Youth, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Manager for Healthy Girls, Healthy Women and a Senior Trainer at Health Resources in Action, where I lead trainings primarily for adults on various youth development topics. I also train young people on various skill building topics. For 9 years I have managed numerous youth development programs focused on promoting public health principles, especially among youth and people of color.
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.