Peer Health Exchange Denver launched programming in the 2018-2019 school year with financial support from Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Public Schools, and individual philanthropists. In Denver, we currently partner with Metropolitan State University of Denver. When we evaluated our first year of programming in SY19-20 pre and post-survey and focus group data showed that Peer Health Exchange increased students’ knowledge of mental health warning signs, how health centers operate and what they offer, and contraceptives and their relative effectiveness. Evaluation data also showed that students receiving our program reported decreased substance use, particularly related to alcohol.
In a focus group one student shared, “One of my friends, she had unsafe sex practices, then I was reminding her about all the stuff we are learning in Peer Health Exchange, and then she took more steps to be safer and she got the [contraceptive] implant.” Another said, ““I feel like [having college students as facilitators] is a bit better because they’re closer to our age, and they’re not that old, so they’re still growing up themselves, and they’re still finding out themselves. We help each other.”