Student Ambassador Program
This last week TJC’s student ambassadors from McGavock High School, Jaqueline Ramirez, and Whitney Cox, used their lunch hours to help educate their classmates about their health insurance options. They set up a booth where they screened students for CoverKids and TennCare by asking questions and providing them with more information about eligibility.
The Tennessee Justice Center values the perspective and influence of young people who feel empowered to use their voices to speak out about important issues, including health care. High school students have a personal stake in health care issues and many are approaching voting age or are already 18 and will be voting for the first time this year. Because of this, the Tennessee Justice Center launched the Student Ambassador Program in 2018 to promote engagement among high school students in health care advocacy. Ambassadors learn about the health insurance system, best practices for advocacy, and how to engage their peers to use their voices.
TJC’s Student Ambassadors participated in a conference in January 2018. At the conference, ambassadors learned how insurance programs like Medicaid support our communities and about how they can engage with TJC’s work to increase and protect access to coverage. After a brief historical overview of TJC, the ambassadors sat in a seminar on the basics of Medicaid and the value of the safety net. The ambassadors were extremely engaged and eager to learn more about the complexities of health care and why CHIP had not been funded at the time. They also learned about TJC’s unique ability to connect client stories to creating legislative change through advocacy. By the end of the conference, they had learned how to write compelling Letters to the Editor and even submitted their own.