Developing Leaders in Health Advocacy

I have almost completed my second year back in the district from which I graduated (7th year in total). A little over a year ago, in my first group of students at my current school I had a student ask “Mrs. McGee, do you teach any other health classes? I’ve really enjoyed having you as a teacher and I’m passionate about many of the topics we’ve learned about.” This is when the wheels started turning in my head for a new course to offer our students.

At the time, I didn’t offer any elective health classes and shortly after the student asked our Guidance Department and Building Administration asked if any teachers would be interested in offering other courses. This is when the idea for our “Leaders in Health Advocacy” course started to develop. 

The idea behind this course was to deepen the learning of students interested in Health Education and maybe even spark some of them to become Health Educators whether in a school, community, etc. The concept was simple, tie in leadership skills with health advocacy to help create change in our school and community. To my surprise  administration and guidance bought right in and the planning began. 

The first part of the semester course was going to be dedicated to looking at those who’ve held leadership positions worldwide and learning about different leadership styles. The second part of the semester was going to be about learning how to advocate and developing school wide advocacy projects and eventually taking it to the larger community.

Fast forward to a year later and I am almost a semester into the first ever leadership in health course our school has offered. It certainly has challenged me. Only having 9 students enrolled (not all signed up, some were placed into the class) has been an interesting experience as I typically thrive better as a teacher with more students. At the same time, this class has also rewarded me with a tight knit group that is always willing to step in and rise to the occasion. 

Their most recent advocacy project was around Autism Acceptance. They designed and launched an Autism Acceptance Spirit Week and informational table at lunch. My students did most of the planning and prep work while I was at the #SHAPEseattle conference as the idea came to fruition just days before I left. They planned, prepped, communicated with administration, staff and students and put on a phenomenal event. 

In the end, I wholeheartedly encourage health teachers to reach out to admin and develop a plan to offer a course like this. The benefits to our students, staff and school community have been noticed significantly.

This microblog post was a featured post in #slowchathealth’s #microblogmonth event. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors on social media (including Kayla McGee, the author of this post) and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of

Pair this blog post with the following:

Know Your Why by Dr. Cara Grant

Being A Champion by Vickie Merrick

What You Water Grows by Wyatt Franz

Have you read the latest Book of the Month recommendation?

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