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Health Advocates

The Caltech Health Advocate Program provides training each year to around 20 individuals, from each of the eight undergraduate houses on campus. These individuals go through a year of training as a First Responder, so that they are able to provide successful peer health interventions and referrals. 

Goals of the Health Advocate Program 

  • Identify individuals who will lend themselves to training and skill development to meet the requirements of being a Health Advocate. 
  • Educate, stimulate and provide an atmosphere of learning and camaraderie for the well rounded Health Advocate. 
  • Upon graduation from the class, individuals will be able to respond and perform at optimum levels in both routine and emergency situations. 
  • Maintain a cadre of committed individuals who will provide confidential peer mental and physical first aid on a regular basis 
  • Instill in these individuals the importance of communication as a tool. 
  • Offer opportunities for volunteerism within the surrounding community. 
  • Have a role in the safety net at Caltech when emergencies arise. 
  • Act as a confidential source for students’ health concerns. 

Scope and Practice 

Health Advocates, upon successful completion of all the criteria required to pass the course, will be certified and function at the level of Emergency Response (US DOT First Responder Curriculum) as outlined in the American Red Cross (ARC) Emergency Response Instructor Manual. 

Health Advocates will function as peer mentors around issues of emotoinal wellbeing. Health Advocates are expected to make appropriate referrals for both physical and mental health as appropriate to the individual need. Health Advocates are expected to treat information related to mentoring/consultation with discretion and respect student privacy. 

Health Advocates will assist peers with non-emergency illness, injuries, and other health needs as warranted. The Health Advocates can be called upon to assist the campus in a time of disaster. 

Class Format 

The average class size is 15-20. The class meets every Wednesday night from 7pm-10pm and there is also one Saturday or Sunday session each term. Quizzes are given each term and there is a final exam and practicum, where hands-on skills are demonstrated. 

A portion of each class includes sharing, in a confidential atmosphere, the types of illnesses, injuries, etc. that occurred during the previous week. Information is presented via lecture, videos, text, overheads, slides, and other media as available. The class is a full-year course and is worth 9 units of pass/fail. Class course name is PE80 ABC. 

Interested? 

Visit the Health Advocate Program website for additional information. Applications are accepted during the spring term (early May) for the following academic year. Contact Mark Stapf, Director of the Health Advocate Program, at mstapf@caltech.edu for additional information.