School-Based Health Center YAC Toolkit

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“Nothing about us without us.”
-Slogan used by disability rights activists 

Oregon’s school-based health centers (SBHCs) provide comprehensive, affordable health care to young people on their school grounds. SBHCs reduce barriers such as cost, transportation, and concerns surrounding confidentiality that often keep youth from seeking the health services they need. Youth engagement is a critical component of the SBHC model. In order to create a youth-friendly environment, it’s important that youth are at the decision-making table when it comes to SBHC services and delivery. In Oregon, many SBHCs engage youth by supporting a Youth Action Council or Youth Advisory Council (YAC), which typically focuses on one or more projects intended to improve SBHC services, accessibility, or marketing. YACs can provide an opportunity for youth to become active partners in their SBHC.

This toolkit is designed for YAC Coordinators. Our hope is that the toolkit will provide you with tools to increase your effectiveness as a YAC. These tools are meant to support YACs in building collective power between youth and adults, and use that power to ensure that youth have access to comprehensive and youth-friendly health care. Included in this toolkit are tips on building youth-adult partnership, how to recruit for your YAC, a sample YAC meeting agenda, a list of icebreakers for relationship-building during short meetings, YAC project planning resources, and human-centered design methods for collective brainstorming and decision-making.

We are publishing this toolkit in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We are all adapting to new ways of doing our work, and many Oregon YACs will be convening online as the 2020-2021 school year begins. In this toolkit, you will find a guide for hosting YAC meetings online, along with tips throughout on how to adapt activities to an online format.

Our hope is to support Oregon YACs to be effective and powerful agents of change in your SBHC and school community. Please let us know how you use this toolkit, and if your YAC has other tools and tips to share, we’d love to hear from you.

Click here to access the toolkit.

Ashley McAllister, Youth-Adult Partnership Manager
Oregon School-Based Health Alliance

This toolkit was developed by Oregon School-Based Health Alliance staff and Student Health Advocates through a contract with the Oregon Health Authority School-Based Health Center State Program Office.

We would like to thank the Ione Community Clinic and Hood River Valley High School Health Center for participating in YAC Coaching during the 2019-2020 school year, and trying out many of the tools in this toolkit.