In September, 13 high school students from around the Commonwealth came together in Bowling Green, KY for the first time as the new 2022-2023 Health Youth Ambassadors cohort! 

The Health Youth Ambassadors (HYA) program is a statewide cohort that engages youth to learn about advocacy and policy, address social determinants of health through policy change, and advocate for themselves and their peers on health-related issues.

The new HYAs met for a two-day immersive policy advocacy experience. Representing 9 different counties – including Breckinridge, Bullitt, Daviess, Graves, Jefferson, Johnson, Knott, Menifee, and Oldham – the students will work alongside one another in the coming year to address health policy concerns they see impacting their peers’ overall health and wellbeing.

During the two-day September onboarding retreat, students established group goals and ground rules, learned about why health matters and the importance of social determinants of health, discovered what advocacy looks like to them, analyzed data to identify needs in their communities, and developed policy recommendations. 

As the group continues to meet regularly throughout the year, they will further engage in both local and statewide advocacy and policy projects related to their identified health policy interest areas. Some policy areas include student mental health and vaping and e-cigarette use prevention. 

We look forward to seeing this group of students grow and develop as health advocates for both themselves and their peers! 

A special thank you to our Bowling Green Face It partner, Family Enrichment Center, for graciously hosting the Health Youth Ambassadors Onboarding Retreat at their facilities. A special thank you also to the Trager Family Foundation for their support of the Health Youth Ambassadors program.