Promoting Equitable COVID-19 Vaccination through Peer-to-Peer Youth Outreach
During the COVID pandemic, PHI’s FACES for the Future program pivoted quickly to provide education and support, including training students from its FACES Public Health Youth Corps as peer COVID vaccine educators. Working in four states, the peer educators provided information about the COVID vaccine and other ways to stop the spread of the virus and had the opportunity to participate in certification courses.
300 students trained by FACES as peer COVID vaccine educators
86 zip codes in four states where students worked
21 languages spoken by peer educators providing COVID and vaccine information
Capacity Building & Leadership, Communicable Disease Prevention, Women, Youth & Children
School-based Efforts, Workforce Development
Health Education & Promotion, Leadership Development
COVID-19, Vaccine Access & Equity
Tomás A. Magaña, MD, MA, FAAP
In 2021 PHI’s FACES for the Future program (FACES) pivoted its high school health professional training initiative to build a teen COVID peer educator workforce. The Public Health Youth Corps trained 300 youth in California, New Mexico, Colorado and Michigan as peer educators. Students learned how to talk to their friends, families and community members about the COVID vaccine and about other ways to stop the spread of COVID. About three-hundred FACES students participated in the program and also had the opportunity to participate in certification courses for CPR/First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, Stop the Bleed training and Narcan/Opioid Overdose Intervention training.
The peer educators worked in 86 zip codes, speaking 21 languages. They connected with peers and families to educate communities that have been hard hit by the virus, covering topics including mask wearing, social distancing, and vaccinations.
FACES trains high school students primarily from low-income communities of color to provide support and opportunity to youth who are seeking options to improve their lives and to address the lack of diversity in the health professions that contributes to health disparities in diverse communities.