The solution is to connect all Utahns with affordable, continuous health care and to lift up the voices and experiences of our youth. By working with middle and high school students in school and community-based programs, we will create a forum to talk with youth about health coverage, care and disparities.
We will start meeting in September in after school sessions. Throughout the fall, we will have conversations about children's health coverage and equity in Utah, so youth are aware of the issues and politics. We will create opportunities to record students' stories and experiences with health coverage and care, and determine the best ways to disseminate these stories. Youth in the after school program come from low-income and marginalized communities. Their experiences will drive the process. Some of the questions we will explore include, how has health care affected your life? What is it like having parents who do not have health insurance?
We will develop coordinated projects and strategies to advocate and educate lawmakers about how youth are affected, and align these efforts with the broader state coalition working to close the insurance coverage gap. In the winter, when the Legislature is in session, we will share experiences, advocate through multiple channels and meet with key legislators and groups.
Our youth know how our state is transforming and changing. Youth here are experiencing an unprecedented level of racial/ethnic diversity and integration in Utah, and can engage communities and lawmakers in new ways. They also know how health and wellness disparities affect their families and their future. We need to incorporate more youth voices in health advocacy, to create a Utah where all can thrive.