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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research
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Student Health Leaders Program

Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research (CFAAR) hosts the CPS/Northwestern Student Health Leaders program for 100 Chicago Public High School students.

The program, funded by Northwestern’s CPS Rapid Impacts Grant Program, consists of four half-day Saturday workshops with a goal of helping students become empowered health advocates who educate their peers on issues seen in their school and greater neighborhood communities.

The final student workshop, originally scheduled for March 21, has been postponed due to COVID-19. Updates will be posted here as they become available.

Throughout the program, students from 16 CPS high schools form groups to create short and informative PSAs related to health topics and issues in their schools. The students also create posters of their ideas for individual interventions that can be implemented in their communities to the issue they’ve selected.

The topics include:

  • ADHD/learning disabilities
  • Asthma
  • Depression/anxiety/stress
  • Eating disorders/self-esteem/body image
  • Gender identity
  • Violence
  • Substance use
  • Suicide/self-harm
  • Obesity/nutrition/physical activity
  • Sleep
  • Sexual health

The program gives students the opportunity to meet and work with peers from all over the city, create educational videos on topics they believe are the most relevant to high school students and work on personal and professional goal-setting. Participants have indicated an interested in pursuing a health-related career in the future and have heard from a variety of clinical and public health professionals who have helped answer questions and shared advice on their journeys. They have also been able to create vision boards of where they want to be in the future and were taken a tour of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, led by Northwestern’s Student National Medical Association students.

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