The CHAMPIONS NETWork: Training Chicago High School Students as Health Advocates to Improve Health Equity
Del Rios, Marina
Vanden Hoek, Terry
Heinert, S., Del Rios, M., Arya, A., Amirsoltani, R., Quasim, N., Gehm, L., Suarez, N., & Vanden Hoek, T. (2019). The CHAMPIONS NETWork: Training Chicago High School Students as Health Advocates to Improve Health Equity. Health Promotion Practice, 20(1), 57–66. https://doi-org.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/10.1177/1524839918757755
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In Chicago, major disparities exist across ethnic groups, income levels, and education levels for common chronic conditions and access to care. Concurrently, many of Chicago's youth are unemployed, and the number of minorities pursuing health professions is low. In an effort to eliminate this health equity gap, the University of Illinois at Chicago convened a community–university–hospital partnership to implement the CHAMPIONS NETWork (Community Health And eMPowerment through Integration Of Neighborhood-specific Strategies using a Novel Education & Technology-leveraged Workforce). This innovative workforce training program is a "High School to Career Training Academy" to empower underserved youth to improve population health in their communities, expose them to careers in the health sciences, and provide resources for them to become community and school advocates for healthy lifestyles. This program differs from other traditional pipeline programs because it gives its students a paid experience, extends beyond the summer, and broadens the focus to population health with patient contact. The CHAMPIONS NETWork creates a new type of health workforce that is both sustainable and replicable throughout the United States.
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