This week was an exciting one for the FACES for the Future Coalition! Not once, but TWICE, the FACES program was highlighted at the 2020 American Public Health Association virtual conference (https://www.apha.org/ ).
First, FACES was presented as a promising practice program model for our work in the National Diversity Workforce Pipeline Program in partnership with the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over the past five years with OMH funding, FACES continued program growth in California; began expanding nationally in New Mexico and Michigan; developed standardized protocols, evaluation metrics, curriculum and staff professional development tools that support programs; and innovated with projects like “Innovations in Simulation” – a partnership with Samuel Merritt University. During that time, 407 students speaking 26 languages were supported with safety net wellness services, given access to internships and mentored by health professionals. 99.5% of the students graduated from high school on time and 97.4% were engaged in post-secondary health career paths including employment, professional certification and 2- and 4-year college. We are SO proud of all of their hard work! (https://apha.confex.com/apha/2020/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/474400 )
Second, FACES worked with Dr. Lynn Silver and Dr. Alisa Padon at Public Health Institute to learn more about changes in youth perception and usage of cannabis after legalization. Leveraging the FACES network of programs, staff conducted surveys, held focus groups and worked with students to identify key factors in youth marijuana usage. The FACES team also worked with youth on identifying opportunities for advocacy focused on delaying first age of usage and thinking through the reasons that young people may be using marijuana. Funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation, the findings of this project will help inform policy and advocacy efforts on the issue moving forward as we continue to work to protect the health and well-being of young people. (https://apha.confex.com/apha/2020/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/481261 )
We want to thank all of the partners who make this work possible. We celebrate this week with you all and we celebrate the amazing, resilient young people we work with every day. They teach us and show us a more equitable and promising future than we could imagine on our own.