The HEAT Corps, developed as a cross-disciplinary collaboration (Medicine for the Greater Good, SOURCE, Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions, Office of Economic Development) during the pandemic, is partnering directly with schools and youth-focused foundations/programs to engage youth in an educational dialogue about COVID.
The HEAT Corps’ primary goal is to increase K-12 student knowledge about the science of COVID-19 and students’ role in the public health response. The curriculum consists of a series of 30-minute sessions on 12 core topics. Virtual teaching sessions are taught by Hopkins faculty, graduate medical trainees, health professionals, and undergraduate students. Through a “teach the teacher” model of health education, HEAT corps promotes student outreach to their peer groups, families, and communities. In addition to providing educational content, the HEAT Corps is also focused on increased engagement between K-12 students and health care professionals and the development of a pipeline of health educators from diverse backgrounds.
Impact to date and opportunities to scale. HEAT Corps has demonstrated proof of concept in the development and implementation of a virtual COVID-19 curriculum for K-12 students. To date, youth at more than 140 schools, both in the United States and across the globe, have been instructed in the HEAT Corps’ COVID-19 curriculum.
Within Baltimore, the program aims to offer a virtual curriculum in all Baltimore City Public Schools, starting with high schools and then expanding into the middle and elementary school grades.
Outside of Baltimore, the program will continue to develop relationships with interested school districts and youth-focused foundations. Even as the pandemic subsides, the opportunities to expand this work will exist, as the program has created an infrastructure to reach schools from across the country, bringing the expertise of Hopkins directly into the classroom. Future curricular topics will include other areas of health education, such as vision health and mental health.
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