Health Champions for Health Equity, a Rapid Review




Valdez, Alia
Vu, Patrick
Mahasamudram, Prathyusha
Phu, Daniel
Allsopp, Leslie C.


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




This study aimed to synthesize existing knowledge from peer-reviewed literature on the usage of "health champions” in K-12 settings to improve health outcomes. Traditionally, community health initiatives aimed at K-12 students have been led by outside adults or appointed school leaders. While successful, one of the limitations frequently encountered was a disconnect between the leader and the target audience. To determine whether this issue could be addressed using peer-led interventions, a rapid literature review was conducted.


A Cochran Rapid Review was conducted due to time and resource constraints. A consultation with a research librarian generated a search strategy suitable for the scope of this project. Using databases ERIC, PubMed, and SCOPUS, an initial list of 602 articles was systematically reduced to 18 publications. The inclusion criteria included studies done in the United States in the past 10 years (2012-2022) to maintain relevance. After applying these criteria, an initial screening of the title/abstract and full-text analysis was performed to develop the final reference list. A data extraction tool was then used to yield the following results.


The majority of health champions were students from their respective schools. Nutrition based interventions were the most common at the elementary school level. High school students had the widest array of interventions such as mental health improvement and tobacco usage reduction. Overall, peer health champions lead to better health intervention objective learning, more participation in the programs, and more student satisfaction.


Findings suggest that peer led interventions targeted at K-12 students are effective in improving participation in program activities. Students had more exposure to the learning material when the program utilized peer mentorship components which resulted in better objectives achievement. Additionally, having university or professional school students as mentors increased community involvement. Creating a working relationship between both K-12 educators and students from universities and higher education facilities is vital in building support for schools with limited resources.