Educators provide information and resources to young people every day, and for many, these resources are relevant to the well-being and health of their students. Peer Health Exchange’s Dr. Angela Glymph, and Lisa Walker, recently published a paper addressing the important role educators play in achieving health equity. Below are three takeaways from “Health Equity: Equipping Educators to Take Action.” To read it in its entirety please click here.
- We should all care about young folks having what they need to lead healthy lives
In and out of school—young people deserve a fair and just chance to lead healthy lives. But what does health equity look like for marginalized youth—those who identify as Black; Latinx; LGBTQ+; or who live with a disability as examples? These young folks run up against serious roadblocks to quality education and healthcare like discrimination and poverty— meaning they are the most affected by these gaps in the system. These injustices make it harder for them to do well in school or even show up at all. As educators (or anyone who works alongside young people), we can all play a role in tackling these barriers.
- Build safe spaces through relationships
While health equity is something we should all work towards, there’s no denying the unique role educators play. Educators spend a lot of time with young people in the classroom. Because of this, they can see changes in their behavior, listen thoughtfully to young people, and create a space for students to speak freely—all key to building trust in any relationship. With trust, young people may then see educators as people they can confide in, or turn to for help. In turn, educators can encourage young folks to speak up for themselves, link them to existing resources and remind them it’s ok to ask for help.
- Educators can take action
Educators can work towards health equity in their classrooms in many ways. For example, they can use their influence to advocate for a safer and more welcoming place for all students in their schools. They can also be sure to educate themselves about existing resources on and off campus. This makes sharing information about health centers, clinics and other services with students and their families easier. For other ideas click here.
Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to empower young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy decisions. Click here to read more about our commitment to equity.