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Public Health Rep. 2008 Nov-Dec;123(6):709-16.

Incorporating youth-led community participatory research into school health center programs and policies.

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Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0936, USA.


Training adolescents as student researchers is a strategy that can improve the delivery of care at school-based health centers (SBHCs) and significantly shift school health policies impacting students. From 2003 to 2006, the University of California, San Francisco, in partnership with Youth In Focus, implemented a participatory student research project to enhance the existing evaluation of the Alameda County SBHC Coalition and its participating clinic members, and to help develop and implement school health policies. Providing opportunities and training that enabled youth to identify and research the health needs of their peers, as well as advocate for improvements in SBHCs based on their research findings, represents an exciting youth development strategy. This article describes the role the youth played, how their adult partners supported their work, and the impact that their efforts had on the SBHCs and school health programming and policies in the areas of condom accessibility and mental health services.

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