YouRhealth: Youth are Rural Health Program

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


YouRhealth is a new, innovative and bold initiative that creates a learning community that includes civic engagement by transforming Lexington High School’s (LHS) freshman health course into a rigorous visual literacy/critical thinking/community engagement environment. This project will implement the YouRhealth program that teaches freshman high school students to be community health educators by developing and presenting multimedia public health campaigns to their family and friends, as well as provide NU students civic engagement opportunities in a predominately minority community.


Funding the YouRhealth program allowed the diverse Lexington High School (LHS) student body with the tools to engage their community’s public health challenges through innovative and bold transdisciplinary curriculum and collaborations. Simultaneously, NU students were able to support the Lexington community while garnering factual information about the diverse populations in Nebraska.

During the first year, project staff and faculty hosted a visual literacy and engagement summer institute seminar to discuss and design the YouRhealth curriculum, adjusting it to the core standards of Lexington Public Schools. Once the curriculum was finalized and approved, a pilot YouRhealth program was implemented for a required high school freshman health course of 16 students. At the end of the curriculum, students were given the opportunity to showcase their results at a community health fair. Art education student teachers from the University of Nebraska at Kearney taught the students about visual literacy and the principles of creating good public health campaigns, and students from the UNMC Nursing program conducted an initial evaluation to assess whether the pilot was successful.

In its second year, more than 100 students participated in the YouRhealth program. Students’ final health campaigns targeted a variety of issues, ranging from human trafficking to medical interpretation.


Project Team



Contact: Kim Matthews,