The Preconception Peer Educator (PPE) Program was developed to raise awareness among college students about infant mortality and its causes. The PPE Program applies a peer education curriculum to equip college students with targeted health messages that they can spread throughout their campuses and communities.
Who’s a Preconception Peer Educator?
Official PPE(s) are students who have taken the PPE training and participated as peer health educators for at least one full school year.
PPE(s) work instep with the mission of the Office of Minority Health to eliminate health disparities by generating infant mortality awareness and prevention using preconception and inter-conception health messages. Developing activities to reach the college-age population with targeted health messages, materials, activities and exercises emphasizing preconception health and healthcare. And finally training college students as peer educators and healthy behavior advocates.
Why infant mortality?
The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. The infant mortality rate is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants. There are obvious differences in infant mortality by age, race, and ethnicity; for instance, the mortality rate for black infants is more than twice that of white infants.
Because over fifty percent of all pregnancies are unplanned, it is imperative to provide all men and women, especially sexually active men and women, with information to make timely, informed decisions about their current health behaviors. Trained PPEs champion these health messages in an effort to reduce infant mortality rates among all people, with emphasis on at-risk populations.
Advisors are the key to any program or club and the prerequisite for program implementation. The advisors are an essential component of the PPE Program because they guide the students, communicate with the Office of Minority Health Resource Center and assist with the operation of the program in the universities and communities.
Advisors aid the students in the development, implementation and monitoring of their work plan and help connect them with local community organizations and health departments.
Responsibilities and Work-plan:
Recruit students as Preconception Peer Educators.
Training logistics (training site, catering, etc.)
Coordinate transportation for students to training location.
Guide and monitor the students’ work plan and assessments while at the training to ensure their full participation.
Guide and mentor students to ensure their full participation in campus and community outreach activities.
Discuss with students ways to make the Preconception Peer Educator Program academically and personally meaningful to them.
Oversee reporting compliance to the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (see. Reporting forms – due at the end of each semester)
Keep the Office of Minority Health Resource Center apprised of current Preconception Peer Educators.
Facilitate implementation of the Preconception Peer Educator program on campus following the training.
Ensure that students complete a Pre-Training Test/Homework on preconception health and infant mortality in preparation for the training.
What we need from the faculty and administration
To agree to host the program.
To select students to attend the training and continue the program on your campus by training future generations of PPE’s
To select a faculty member to be the mentor. The mentor is key in guiding the students through the training and their ongoing outreach.
To help ensure the success of the training and program we are requesting that advisers
Bring with them a list of community partners or organizations with which they have a relationship or ongoing work that can serve as potential partners in this effort.
The advisors should bring a list of middle and high schools with which they (or the school) have developed any relationship. If there is no existing relationship, it would be wise to bring a list of neighboring middle or high schools, so we can work in approaching them in the future.
The advisors should discuss with their students ways to make the PPE Program academically meaningful to them. In the past, students have used the PPE Program for service learning credit, independent studies, research, etc.
The advisors should help with the evaluation study by ensuring compliance with the reporting.
Guide and monitor the students’ work plan and assessments while at the training to ensure their full participation
There will be continuous oversight and collaboration from OMH throughout the program and beyond.
The Preconception Peer Educators Program is governed by the Office of Minority Health Preconception Health Advisory Board (pictured above). The Advisory Board is comprised of faculty advisors from established PPE programs from all over the United States. The board serves as council for the PPE program and is available to mentor new programs and faculty advisors.
Preconception Peer Educators (PPEs) are certified by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Resource Center to serve as health peer educators in their community. To become a PPE, prospective students must acquire the Level 1 and Level 2 certifications. The two levels of training work together to educate each student on core competencies of preconception health, health disparities and outreach skills.
Required Activities: In order to be certified as a PPE, (after the training) students must complete the following requirements. Please note requirements may vary and be determined at the discretion of the faculty adviser:
Student must be affiliated with an active PPE program and within the course of a year be involved in:
One (1) Recruitment event
One (1) Training event
Two (2) Campus activities
One (1) Community activity
Webinars: must attend a minimum of 6 live or 8 archived sessions
** Certified PPEs must undergo a “refresher” course every 2 years in order to maintain up- to- date on statistics and other data around the curriculum.
Events and activities include (examples)
Preconception Health Week, Minority Health Month, Infant Mortality Awareness Month, screenings, discussion series, engaging school health centers, collaboration with other campus groups, Greek organization activities such as: Delta Sigma Theta prematurity initiative and Zeta Phi Beta Bowling for Babies, fundraisers, health fairs, attending/presenting at conferences, working/participating/volunteering at existing community events.
Notification of Certification Eligibility:
At the end of the year, Faculty Advisers should submit a list of students who have completed all required activities and are eligible for certification. Include student emails and upcoming school year status (freshman, sophomore, etc.) as well.
On-campus, in-community highlights of the impact of peer education