Risa Berrin’s peer health education talk provides an alternative to what she refers to as a “Coach Bob” healthcare model, run by adults and inadequate textbook statistics. In classrooms where children suffer from complex emotional and mental issues (1/4 are a victim of emotional, physical and abuse, and 9/25 kids have contemplated suicide), kids would benefit more from real-world, practical solutions than from uniform textbook answers.
Berrin’s solution is found in HIP, which stands for Health Information Project. HIPs core concept is revolutionary: kick the adults out of the drivers seat and let the youth take control. The project trains 12th and 11th grade students to enter 9th grade classrooms with the intention of opening up a dialogue about reproductive health, mental health, relationships and the like. The project aims to harness peer pressure in a positive manner by dispensing useful and helpful advice. In other words, it aims to make it hip to be healthy.
Berrin notes that not only do 9/10 kids prefer this peer-driven model, but it’s also extremely cost-efficient, running on eight dollars per student. With this in mind, HIP has an ambitious nation-wide potential.