Posted 10/20/2011 | By HealthCorps

Founder Dr. Mehmet Oz: HealthCorps is Important Because Health Happens in Schools!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, The California Endowment celebrates a launch event with new partner HealthCorps, a wellness movement with in-school educational and mentoring programs now in 54 highs schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The first in a series of similar events in California, today’s student-led rally is hosted by The California Endowment and will highlight how promoting health in schools is essential to building a healthy community. The heart of HealthCorps is the Coordinator, a recent college graduate who defers entry into medical school or graduate health programs to serve as a Peer-Mentor through a two-year full time assignment at a designated public high school.

Administering a curriculum on nutrition, fitness and mental strength, Coordinators conduct approximately twelve classes a week and lead after school and community programs. They also serve as a hub for best practices – partnering with public health departments, school systems, foundations, the business community and other non-profit organizations to coalesce efforts.

Perfectly aligned with the work of The California Endowment, HealthCorps has made it a major priority to empower youth and school faculty to take charge of their own health. Because of their commitment to changing health outcomes, The California Endowment has helped fund the program in four schools in Building Healthy Communities sites for the next two years. Those include: Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights (East Los Angeles), Coachella Valley High School in Eastern Coachella Valley, Manual Arts High School in South Los Angeles and Hiram W. Johnson High School in South Sacramento.

“HealthCorps is important because Health Happens in Schools,” said HealthCorps Founder Dr. Mehmet Oz, world-renowned cardiac surgeon, two-time Emmy® Award-winning host and Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center. He continued,“Thanks to our new partnership with The California Endowment, HealthCorps is reaching more teens with our shared goal to activate youth to get their families and neighbors to become health advocates in their communities. I’m pleased they could join our movement to fight the childhood obesity crisis by helping Americans discover what they are really hungry for and why.”

In 2003, Oz conceived of the program in New York City after finding himself operating on patients in their twenties who were in need of heart surgery. He set out to save a generation of youth from sustaining shorter life spans than those of their parents.

“Schools play a key role in the health of our children, and healthy kids are more likely to succeed in school and life. Schools can improve the health of kids by serving healthier school meals, making sure kids get exercise every day and providing school environments that are welcoming and safe,” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., President & CEO of The California Endowment. “HealthCorps will shine a spotlight on all that schools can do to improve the health of our children and our communities.”


The California Endowment
, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.

Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion plan of The California Endowment. In connection with staff-led, statewide policy initiatives, 14 communities are taking action to make where they live healthier. They’re doing this by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy food and more. The goal: to create places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. Ultimately, we’re aiming at nothing less than a transformation in the way all of us think about and support health for all Californians. For more information, please visitwww.calendow.org/healthycommunities/

HealthCorps is a non-profit created by world renowned heart surgeon and two-time Emmy® Award-winning talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, to help build a movement to fight the childhood obesity crisis by helping Americans discover what they are really hungry for and why. Dr. Oz is recreating a community of wellness by deploying youth as educated consumers who bring stakeholders together to create an education model that addresses the Whole Child.

HealthCorps “Coordinators” carry out unique in-school and community programming targeting high-need populations.  Using peer-mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers.

HealthCorps also serves as a unique research laboratory – exploring the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis and discovering and communicating solutions.

HealthCorps is bringing many initiatives together to activate the students’ mind, body and spirit. As a result, HealthCorps is transforming the educational paradigm one school at a time.

Join the conversation! Leave a comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.


Subscribe to the HealthCorps Newsletter