The School Health Education Program (SHEP): medical students as health educators.

Victoria S.S. Wong, Gwen S. Naguwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The School Health Education Program (SHEP) is a collaboration of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the State of Hawai'i Department of Education that was founded to improve the health of Hawai'i's youth. This program allows premedical and medical students (collectively referred to as "medical students" from here on) to serve as health educators for high school students in six priority areas of health education. OBJECTIVES: To confirm the efficacy of this community health partnership program and to determine the factors resulting in its success. METHODS: A total of 1714 students from seven of Hawai'i's public high schools were surveyed for improvement in their content knowledge and decision-making confidence after participating in SHEP presentations. A sub-group of 235 high school students were asked about their comfort level and trust in their interactions with medical students as compared to their health teachers. RESULTS: The knowledge content and confidence in decision making increased significantly after participation in SHEP activities (p<.0001). High school students were found to be more comfortable and more trusting in learning about health topics from medical students as compared to health teachers (p<.0001). Reasons given included the medical students' content knowledge as well as their presentation methods and positive attitude. CONCLUSIONS: The unique dual role of medical students as future physicians and as students allowed them to retain their credibility as health educators while developing a strong rapport with the high school students. Through SHEP, medical students can gain valuable experience through researching and teaching health topics while high school students receive additional health knowledge through this teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalHawaii Medical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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