YES!’s Access to Health Care and Oral Health Equity team is working to engage and empower young people in community change efforts to increase access to health care and to create oral health equity for youth.
What We Do
- Advocate for policy changes to physical and oral health care for youth
Provide training and technical assistance to youth, adults, organizations and providers on how to empower youth in sustainable community change efforts
- Examine the impact of the public’s perception of oral health
- Build tools to assist communities, organizations and health systems who want to engage youth more effectively in their efforts
Provide tools and training to help adolescent health care providers, such as school-based health centers, establish youth advisory councils to better integrate a youth-patient voice into their practice
Increase the capacity of young people to be health literate and engage in health equity and health advocacy
YES! Youth Advocacy Efforts
• Increasing access to equitable health care for youth
– Advocating for school-based and school-linked health centers
– Empowering youth to be in decision-making positions within local and statewide health coalitions and boards
• Increasing and supporting policies that allow for greater access to equitable health care
– Minors’ Consent Law
– Federal reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Program, including removal of the Prior Approval Policy in the Dental Hygiene Act (North Carolina), and maintaining local community water fluoridation policies.
• Increasing the opportunity for youth patients to have a voice in the design and delivery of their health care
– Supporting the creation and expansion of youth advisory councils (See our “Flipping the Adolescent Clinic” document)
– Including and engaging youth as leaders on health center advisory boards and Patient and Family Advisory Councils
• Increasing the ability of young people to navigate and participate in their own health care
– Providing training to youth on health literacy skills and awareness
– Ensuring that youth have opportunities to advocate for issues impacting their health
In 2010, YES! received funding from the John Rex Endowment to convene a group of youth who would address a local health issue in Wake County, N.C. After unanimously agreeing that disparities in access to health care was the priority area to focus on, YES! youth developed and expanded their capacity to understand the ins and outs of the health care system and the role that patients, providers and insurers play. Our work was launched in Wake County focusing on expanding the network of school-based health centers (SBHC) across the state. Since then, this work has continued to expand across North Carolina and beyond, including an innovative partnership with the Montefiore Medical Center School Health Program in Bronx, N.Y. Additionally, our work has expanded to include a specific focus on oral health policies, systems and environments through a partnership with the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative. We hope to bring a youth voice to a field that historically has struggled to empower youth as stakeholders.