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Health Policy and Management Professor Alex Ortega once again was invited by the Aspen Institute this year to inspire and challenge high school students to make an impact in their communities. The Aspen Challenge 2015, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, invited 17 high schools across the city to participate in designing solutions to dozens of issues.
On Jan. 24, Ortega spoke to hundreds of students about the role of public health work in society, including social and community factors that can influence quality of life and life expectancy. At the end of his session, he asked each team to identify important public health issues and work towards a solution.
"You can change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. You can do this through health education. You can do this through social marketing. You can do this through social networking. You can do this through community forums and events. You can do this through media campaigns... You can do this through social advocacy," Ortega said.
Students will spend the next few months building their teams, identifying the issues that they want to address and preparing their solutions for a presentation in March. Winning teams go on to participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 28-July 2, 2015, in Aspen, Colorado.
(Photos courtesy: LAUSD)