UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (CoE)
The mission of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health is to advance the health and well-being of women and girls from diverse communities in San Francisco.
CoE Positive Youth Development Programs
The CoE works to expand the health and personal development opportunities for SF young women from diverse communities as well as to increase the number of young women from these communities who choose to become involved in women’s health.
Our programs for young women are based on a positive youth development model and include the Youth Steering Committee, the Young Women’s Health & Leadership Summit and the Innovators in Young Women’s Health.
The programs provide experiences which foster resilience, self-determination, self-efficacy, a clear and positive identity and a belief in the future by promoting bonding and social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and moral competence and by providing opportunities for pro-social involvement and recognition for positive engagement.
Innovators in Young Women’s Health
The Innovators in Young Women’s Health Program (Innovators) is a 10-month health and leadership development training program which empowers young women to create a project that uniquely addresses young women’s health needs specific to their school community.
Developed and implemented in collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District, Innovators is based on a positive youth development approach that emphasizes each girl’s strengths and assets.
With the support of an adult ally in their school (wellness center staff, nurse, teacher, etc.), students work in teams to design, implement, and evaluate a young women’s health project.
The UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health offers special thanks to Maja Ramsey, the Mount Zion Health Fund, and the Metta Fund for their funding which makes possible the Innovators in Young Women’s Health Program.
Innovators in Young Women’s Health Awards 2013-2014
The 2013-2014 Innovators are an ambitious, creative, dedicated and diverse group of 9 young women representing 5 different SFUSD high schools: The Academy of Arts & Sciences, Philip & Sala Burton High School, Galileo High School, George Washington High School and Mission High School.
The Innovators identified their project topics by conducting a needs assessment of the young women in their high schools. Each Innovator team interviewed approximately 50 girls - representing different grades, social groups, and ethnicities – and asked them to name the most challenging health issue facing girls at their school. The top issues identified at all schools were high levels of stress, followed by low self-esteem and poor body image. The following project descriptions detail how each team has chosen to uniquely address these issues for the young women in their high school communities.
Academy of Arts & Sciences
Student Innovators: Marchel Darden-Smith & Arianna Vargas; Adult Ally: Genevieve Evenhouse
Seeing their peers struggle with unrealistic expectations about how they should look and feel, Marchel and Arianna created “Imperfection is Beauty,” an all-day retreat for 25 girls aimed at helping the girls to accept and express themselves while building supportive relationships with each other. Through interactive workshops, participants will explore how the media and societal pressures work together to impact how we feel about ourselves and each other. A spoken-word workshop will guide young women in a celebration of themselves, where they will create a powerful vision for their futures and learn how support their journey with positive affirmations. The retreat will conclude with meditative self-reflections, providing the girls with new techniques for relieving pressure and stress.
Philip & Sala Burton High School
Student Innovator: Nael Morones; Adult Ally: Katrina Southard
Through her conversations with the girls in her school, Nael began to realize that there were many different causes for girls’ stress, but strong “roots” would help them weather any storm. “Rooted” is an all-day retreat for 25 girls focused on helping girls decrease and manage their stress, create new friendships and supports, and increase their body image and self-esteem. Workshops will focus on teaching the girls how to manage and prevent stress through self-care, while encouraging them to find and embrace their true inner beauty. Through facilitated reflection and sharing, girls will experience new opportunities to interact and bond, and forge new friendships by the end of the day.
Galileo High School
Student Innovators: Kendall Yee & Pilar Tisker; Adult Ally: Jackie Alarcon
Kendall and Pilar identified “drama” as the cause and result of high stress and low self-esteem issues in their school. “Drama” is when girls behave aggressively by spreading rumors, excluding, attempting to intimidate each other, or otherwise acting “mean.” They created “Save the Drama for Your Mama,” an all-day retreat for 25-30 girls, to help them learn to love and be compassionate with themselves and each other, while having fun. A focus of the day will be transforming the culture of “drama” to one of sisterhood, self-love, and respect. Girls will end the day with a high-energy Zumba class, providing them with a fun healthy way of managing and relieving stress.
George Washington High School
Student Innovators: Alina Belousova & Nataly Kofman; Adult Ally: Lynnea Hughes
Alina and Nataly wanted to create a special day for girls to learn how to truly accept, love, and embrace themselves as full human beings. “I am Woman” is an all-day retreat for 25 young women focused on raising girls’ self-esteem and giving them a deeper appreciation for themselves and each other. Girls will explore how media can negatively impact the way they think and feel about their bodies, and then participate in a Zumba class which - in addition to stress relief - will demonstrate that you can have fun and dance no matter what your body type!
Mission High School
Student Innovators: Irina Osadchaya & Lysette Murillo; Adult Ally: Chandra Sivakumaran
Irina and Lysette identified different stressors for the girls at Mission high, oftentimes related to their age (i.e., younger girls were more stressed about body image, older girls were more stressed about getting into college). Across all grades, teen pregnancy also emerged as a pressing concern. Irina and Lysette saw how the issues were connected – high stress and low self-esteem can get in the way of girls’ achieving their goals – and how exercise can be an effective and healthy way of addressing both issues. “Believing is Achieving” is an all-day retreat that will take 25 young women through a ropes course, providing them with the opportunity to discover their inner strength and the power of working together. The girls will also participate in a fun, interactive workshop about female sexuality so they can make informed decisions about their reproductive health. The goal of the day is for young women to achieve a greater appreciation for themselves and their unlimited possibilities.