Magazine article The Nation's Health

Youth Council within APHA Caucus Gives Students Advocacy Platform

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Youth Council within APHA Caucus Gives Students Advocacy Platform

Article excerpt

YOUTH ACTIVISTS who toil to make their communities healthier and safer now have a new advocacy platform. With the launch in November of the new Community-Based Public Health Caucus Youth Council, students ages 13 to 24 can take their passion for public health to the national level.

Created by APHA's Community-Based Public Health Caucus with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the new youth council is exploring pathways to public health careers as it works to solve public health issues and develop a national youth advocacy platform.

"There are a lot of different ways we want to change things for the better, but change is definitely our No. 1 mission," said youth council member Quinton Williams. An APHA member, Williams facilitates the group's monthly conference calls and video chats.

A freshman majoring in secondary education at Central Michigan University, Williams was nominated to the youth council by community-based organization Your Blessed Health in Flint, Mich., which brings students into high schools to teach about sexual health. Active in community-based organizations since he was in middle school, Williams credits the organization Gear Up, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, for his academic success. Gear Up promotes the importance of education to children from low-income families.

Bringing together student activists who are experiencing racial and ethnic health disparities and providing them with a platform for solving those problems has long been a goal of the Community-Based Public Health Caucus, said APHA member Renee Bayer, MHSA. The Caucus began encouraging youth to attend APHA Annual Meetings three years ago, she said, noting that nine of the 13 youth council members presented their research at the Denver Annual Meeting last year.

"We are just in the beginning of helping them figure out who they are and what they want to do, but what stands out about these young people is that they are really inspiring," said Bayer, associate director of the Kellogg Health Scholars Program at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. …

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