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Peer Health Educators

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Information

Help us spread the word...not the risk. Educate your peers on health topics affecting college students:

  • Safer Sex
  • Nutrition/Healthy Eating
  • Illicit Drugs and Alcohol
  • Stress Management
  • Women's and Men's Health
  • Mental Health

Brief Description of PHE Position
Expected Commitment
Key Tasks and Responsibilities
Benefits
Requirements for Application and Acceptance
How to Become a Peer Health Educator (includes PHE Application)

Brief Description of PHE Position
The Peer Health Educators (PHEs) are a diverse group of U.Va. students trained to educate their classmates about college lifestyle and wellness issues in a positive, interactive, fun, and nonjudgmental manner.

Comprehensive training prepares the PHEs to provide confidential patient education sessions; facilitate dynamic outreach programs; encourage physical, mental, and spiritual health; create informative awareness events; and promote community support to create a healthy campus culture. The Peer Health Educators are dedicated to providing education and community support with sensitivity to race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion, and individual capabilities.

Expected Commitment
Being a PHE will require a substantial commitment of time and energy (an average of 3 hours per week). Minimum commitment of three semesters is required; four semesters is preferred.

First Semester: In-training Peer Health Educators will receive approximately 30 hours of training (EDHS 324: Concepts of Peer Health Education) and will provide a total of 15-20 hours of volunteer service through observing/assisting trained Peer Health Educators with Outreach, Patient Education, Special Wellness Events, and attending one-hour weekly planning/training meetings.

Subsequent Semesters: Trained Peer Health Educators will provide a total of 30-40 hours of volunteer service (per semester) by attending one-hour weekly planning/training meetings and conducting Outreach programs, Patient Education sessions, Special Wellness Events, Marketing, and Recruitment and/or additional improvement projects.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Attending one-hour weekly planning/training meetings (Tuesdays 5:00-6:00 PM)
  • Designing, organizing, and participating in campus-wide awareness activities
  • Designing and presenting Outreach programs
    Staffing information tables (i.e., Mental Wellness Screening Day)
  • Designing and distributing flyers, brochures, and other promotional materials
  • Updating the PHE webpage, brochure, and scrapbook
  • Assisting with the planning and implementation of the Wellness Fair and 4th Year 5K
  • Attending the EDHS 324 Concepts of Peer Health Education training class during first fall semester

Benefits

  • Gain extensive knowledge about contraception, sexually transmitted infections, body image, alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs, eating disorders, nutrition, health promotion theory and practice, men's and women's health, depression, healthy relationships, and stress management.
  • Become part of a highly skilled, diverse team of students committed to providing accurate, nonjudgmental college-health information to the University of Virginia community.
  • Obtain three credits through the Curry School of Education for the fall training semester.
  • Develop teaching, communication, presentation, and group facilitation skills.
  • Become a recognized member of the Student Health Center volunteer staff.
  • Have an opportunity to contribute significantly to the growth of the Peer Health Education program.

Requirements for Application and Acceptance
You must be either a first or second year to apply for the position, and be able to take the 3-credit training course in the fall of 2014 (EDHS 324: Concepts of Peer Health Education), offered through the Curry School.

A strong PHE applicant should possess the following qualities:

Personal skills

  • Strong interest and enthusiasm in promoting healthy behaviors among your fellow students
  • Open mind to cultures, practices, and sexual orientations different from your own
  • Sensitivity to controversial and personal topics that are sometimes embarrassing, and have a willingness to talk candidly about them
  • Ability to articulate the facts about health-enhancing behaviors and dispel myths and misperceptions
  • Dedication to health education, health promotion, and the PHE program
  • Demonstrate a sincere concern for others, their well-being and quality of life

Operational skills

  • Ability to speak publicly in a positive, engaging, interactive, and nonjudgmental manner
  • Ability to facilitate group discussions and include all members of the audience
  • Ability to show concern and empathy in a one-on-one information-sharing format
  • Ability to function in a group, both as a leader and as a supportive team member

Other requirements

  • Must be a first- or second-year U.Va. student to apply
  • Must be present during the fall semester of training session (may not go abroad during this time)
  • Although we encourage involvement in many other activities at the University and community, applicant must be able to balance other activities with the PHE commitment of 40 hours/semester (approximately 3 hours/week).

How to Become a U.Va. Peer Health Educator
If you would like to learn more about stress, sexuality, alcohol, and other college-health issues, would like to be part of an effort to raise awareness of these issues on campus, and have the interest and the time to devote to being a PHE, we welcome your contribution to the program and encourage you to apply.

We will be accepting applications again in the Spring of 2015! If you are interested in our program, please fill out this early interest form. Please email Katie Labgold for any questions about the program that you may have.

We really appreciate your energy and eagerness about our program and we are excited to meet you next semester!

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