Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
The report Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System calls on public health leaders to compensate community members and community-based organizations for their time and expertise provided to health departments. Authentic community engagement in public health program planning and implementation is a central practice for advancing health equity, but relying on community members to volunteer their time for this work — while everyone else in the room is being paid — perpetuates inequities. Residents deserve consistent monetary compensation for the expertise they provide to public health departments.
The Youth Alliance for a Healthier Alaska (YAHA) is in its 14th year. YAHA advisors, youth between 14 to 21 years of age from across the state, are selected on a competitive basis for one-year, renewable terms to advise the Alaska Department of Health’s Adolescent Health Program. These youth advisors are compensated for their time to participate in an orientation and training sessions to kick-off their tenure and routine YAHA activities, including program strategy development and providing feedback for evaluation purposes. When the program started in the 2000s, the focus was on teen pregnancy prevention and violence prevention — the two priority issues at the time for Alaska’s youth. Over time, YAHA’s scope grew, so members now also advise on all youth programming in the health department and serve as a resource for other youth-serving agencies.
Learn how Washington State built accountability mechanisms to track how public health funding is spent and the impact of that spending.