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Arizona Public Health Training Center Receives Best Practices Award

Parent Ambassadors
Graduates of the first Parent Ambassadors training session held at the Rio Vista Recreation Center in Peoria, Arizona in March 2012.

The Parent Ambassador Program is a collaborative public health initiative between the Maricopa County Health Department and the Arizona Public Health Training Center (AzPHTC), which designed the curriculum. Parents in the program are trained to become public-health “ambassadors” so they can advocate for school policies that affect their children’s health as schools develop mandatory school wellness plans.A public health training program for parents in Maricopa County has been recognized as one of the 2012 Public Health Best Practices by the Division of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Education at the Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions.

The first Public Ambassador Program training sessions were held in Peoria, Arizona with 57 parents participating. Within the first month after the training, participants developed 21 program ideas to improve school wellness action plans. As a result, the AzPHTC has created a train-the-trainer program to expand the Parent Ambassadors Program throughout the state.

“This is an outstanding achievement given that our partnership is one of the newest within the National Public Health Training Center Network, said Dr. Douglas Taren, associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and director of the AzPHTC.

“This program worked so well because of graduate students Martin Celaya, MPH (Class of May 2012) and Sofia Gomez (DrPH Student, Public Health and Policy Management) and their collaboration with the Maricopa Health Department,” said Dr. Taren.

Taren added, “We now have a national model to help parents become more engaged in developing school wellness programs.”

The Arizona Public Health Training Center, is housed within the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. The AzPHTC is part of a network of 38 Public Health Training Centers (PHTC) nationwide, funded by the Health and Human Resources and Services Administration.

For more information about the Ambassador Program, contact Maribel Tobar at (520) 626-6560,

Related News:

“Phoenix-area parents join kid health program,” The Arizona Republic, 9/10/2012

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