Peer Health Exchange

Organization: Peer Health Exchange (PHE)
Project: Preventative health program in NYC/ SF schools
Location: New York, New York & San Francisco, California
Target Group: Families (Children) At Risk

Peer Health Exchange (PHE) was founded in 1999 by six Yale undergraduates, who began teaching health workshops in New Haven public schools in order to fill the gap left by an underfunded, understaffed district health program. PHE train college student volunteers to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools that lack health education.

Over the past five years, Childhood has helped PHE educate thousands of high school students on a comprehensive health curriculum which includes sexual and reproductive health, practicing thoughtful decision-making, learning to communicate effectively with family members and peers, and accessing health resources in the area.  Integrated into the curriculum are group conversations, offering the students a safe space to discuss some of the more sensitive issues faced in daily life.  This curriculum aligns with Childhood’s efforts in reducing childhood trauma and preventing unintended teen pregnancy by ensuring teenagers have knowledge and skills around sexual health, healthy relationships, and consent so that they can make informed and empowered decisions.

Aims and Objectives:  PHE Bay Area & NYC have five objectives through 2016 with Childhood’s support. 

  1. Implement pilots to inform the next phase of impact. These pilots include innovation around blended learning (combination of classroom and on-line education) and building out new (scalable) options for districts and schools to best meet the needs of their students.
  2. Train 237 college student volunteers in the Bay Area and 550 college students in NYC to teach PHE skills-based health curriculum in public high schools;
  3. Teach the PHE curriculum to 2,000 9th graders in the Bay Area and 5,000 in NYC;
  4. Increase PHE high school students’ ability to make healthy/informed decisions;
  5. Build a life-long commitment to public service among PHE college student volunteers.

Peer Health Exchange is a learning organization, rooted in innovation and evaluation. They work continually to ensure the program is in line with the best thinking around health and education, and innovate by piloting ideas and then, if successful, bringing them to scale across the 6 sites where PHE operates today. In 2015, PHE will be piloting a new program model that leverages technology to allow volunteers to build better relationships with the students they teach. Instead of volunteers mastering two workshops and teaching new students every week, PHE will be testing a direct service model where college volunteers, assisted by technology, can teach the entire PHE curriculum with one class of teens. 

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