Monique Nguyen Takes on Health at San Francisco conference

Promoting health begins with relevancy and cultural humility. With these two foci, health advocates are able to incorporate public health and the new media to involve the youth. They hire young people to be health promoters. Once they prove their dedication and motivation, they are hired, trained to be peer health educators, and asked to create media such as videos to share their message (e.g consequential thinking and sexual health). By investing in youth leaders from diverse backgrounds from a community, solutions cater to the population in a culturally competent way.

Another theme reiterated throughout the conference was the significance of story-telling. With story-telling, education can be relevant, entertaining, and informative. Many panelists at the conference concluded that media and health technology, such as phone applications with story-telling characteristics, can bridge faults between issues people are averse to learning about and the wealth of underutilized resources. For example, a group from Berkeley created a website for people to share candid reflections on drug use and ways to incorporate more harm-reduction educational models. A New York-based nonprofit, Scenarios USA, uses writing and film to address concerns in the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth.

Overall, this was a memorable opportunity and a great experience to meet with like-minded public health advocates who are open to taking risks in order to help solve the difficult health challenges facing the nation, and marginalized youth in particular.