Peer Health Exchange

Harvard's Chapter of PHE empowers young people to make healthy decisions by training college students to teach a skills-based health curriculum in under-resourced high schools across Boston.

Application Information:

To join Harvard’s Chapter of Peer Health Exchange, please apply both through PBHA’s common application (~5 min) as well as through PHE’s volunteer application (30-45 min). The deadline for application is September 21st @ midnight.

Interested in bringing PHE to your school? Please email phe@pbha.org.

Student Director Contact Information:

Co-coordinators for 2018-2019:

Stephen Freeman & Anthony Zhong

phe@pbha.org

Staff Contact Information:

Laurie Chroney

laurie@pbha.org

617-496-9217

The need

Young people face difficult decisions daily. These tough choices can lead to serious consequences for their health and well-being. For example, according to the CDC’s 2015 Youth Behavior Surveillance System:

  • 3 in 10 of teenagers are sexually-active, and of those teens, 57% did not use a condom the last time they had sex. 
  • 1 in 10 teenagers experiences violence in a relationship.
  • 18% of teenagers binge drink.
  • 18% of teenagers have seriously considered suicide.

These preventable health concerns contribute to the staggering reality that over one million students drop out of high school each year.

Health education has been shown to improve young people’s health outcomes, high school graduation rates, and life opportunities. Yet, in neighborhoods across Boston, financial limitations force many high schools to cut their health education programs entirely.

Our mission

Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to empower young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy decisions. We do this by training college students to teach a skills-based health curriculum in under-resourced high schools across the country. Alongside its partners, PHE advances health equity and improves health outcomes for young people.

Our model

PHE recruits and trains college students to become health educators. More specifically, our chapter sends pairs of volunteers to teach weekly workshops in high schools across Boston. There are 14 workshops in total that cover 4 overarching topics: Mental Health, Sexual Health, Drugs and Alcohol, and Accessing Health Resources. Volunteers return to the same classrooms each week to build strong relationships with their students as both mentors and peers. This unique peer-teaching model makes PHE volunteers more relatable to their students and better able to jump-start honest conversations about their health.

Our impact

90% of the young people served plan to use something they learned in a PHE workshop to make a healthy decision.

Moreover, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that students who received PHE’s curriculum were:

  • 17% more likely to visit a health center.
  • 8% more likely to know how to access and use contraceptives.
  • 11% more likely to accurately define what constitutes consent in a sexual situation.
  • 11% more likely to identify the warning signs of poor mental health.

For more information

Please visit the Peer Health Exchange website or contact us at phe@pbha.org.