An arts-based public well being literacy program boosts teenagers’ well being data and civic engagement

An arts-based public well being literacy program boosts teenagers’ well being data and civic engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and exacerbated well being inequities. But the disaster additionally offered a possibility to reframe how we speak and have interaction with youth round well being and illness danger. That’s precisely what a web based model of a teen-focused, arts-based, spoken phrase public well being literacy marketing campaign referred to as The Larger Image (TBP) got down to do.

The TBP program was initially conceived in 2013 to develop consciousness of sort 2 diabetes by shifting the main target from particular person behaviors to a extra public health-centered method, which highlighted the social and environmental components that contribute to illness danger and decide its unequal distribution throughout society.

“I believe The Larger Image was so profitable as a result of it went past conventional youth-targeted well being schooling campaigns and inspired social motion (somewhat than specializing in particular person habits change),” Berkeley Public Well being Assistant Analysis Professor Hannah Thompson stated. “[TBP] used artwork and poetry as technique of connecting with college students about public well being and well being fairness points that have been instant and related to them.”

Whereas colleges have been working on-line in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, TBP—created in partnership between the San Francisco–based mostly nonprofit Youth Speaks and UCSF’s Middle for Weak Populations—was expanded to cowl different ”pressing public well being matters that had grown in visibility, corresponding to COVID-19, local weather change, police brutality, and psychological sickness” and provided on-line.

A gaggle of researchers led by Dr. Thompson got down to decide the affect of the expanded on-line TBP program on predominantly low-income and extremely various scholar populations, assessing how this system impacted college students at six excessive colleges within the San Francisco Unified College District. Their analysis was printed within the Oct. 2022 situation of the Journal of Well being Communications.

Findings from their mixed-methods research recommend that TBP, provided in a web based house, can advance a tradition of well being within the public highschool setting. After publicity to the TBP curriculum, college students higher understood the structural components that have an effect on well being than college students who participated in Youth Speaks conventional (not health-oriented) programming.

On-line survey outcomes confirmed that college students who skilled the TBP curriculum had extra data in regards to the causes of Sort 2 diabetes and reported considerably extra sturdy civic engagement (i.e., gathering signatures on a petition or asking folks about their opinions on group well being).

The outcomes recommend that utilizing a digital program like TBP can advance a tradition of well being in a public highschool setting, particularly participating college students within the structural, social, and environmental determinants of well being and well being fairness.

“There are numerous necessary classes discovered from this engaged pedagogical method that could possibly be utilized to future well being education schemes for youth, notably if lessons are to be taught on-line,” Thompson stated.

Learn the complete paper within the Journal of Well being Communications.


Co-authors embody Hannah R. Thompson, Jackie Mendelson, and Maya Zamek of UC Berkeley; Gabriel Cortez of Youth Speaks; and Dean Schillinger of the UCSF Division of Common Inner Drugs and Middle for Weak Populations.

PUBLIC HEALTH