Schools can play a critical role in reducing health risks through the delivery of effective public health education. It can enhance understanding of concepts pertaining to population wellness to action that directly or indirectly enhances individual or community health. Youth should gain exposure to the skills of population thinking through public health education. However, it has yet to become an essential component of high school curricula. Public Health Education in High Schools will focus on critical thinking, science and digital literacy, youth empowerment, and community-based participatory action research in each community. Youth will learn the importance on how to acquire, analyze, evaluate, interpret, and apply information to understand societal problems in a real-world context. It also helps to cultivate a sense of social responsibility to address community health needs.
In one of the unique efforts to enhance youth health and well-being, the University of Memphis School of Public Health has initiated a first of its kind initiative: RE-AIM Public Health IDEAS Through the Lens of the Youth. The initiative aims to instill Leadership and Educational Advancement among youth to solve Public Health (LEAP) challenges of the 21st century. It is built upon the relevance of transforming ideas into implementation for solving pressing public health challenges of the 21st century through Research, Entrepreneurship, Analytics, Informatics and Management, (RE-AIM) along the pillars of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Sustainability (IDEAS). To build an impactful School of Public Health that is: Community-engaged, Anchor institute, Research-based solutions, promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation and support Student Centeredness (CARES).
These initiatives can create the triple benefits of 1) being an educational institution, 2) acting as a well-being hub connecting young people to services, and 3) as a facilitator for health-related engagement.