Overall levels of educational attainment are closely tied to health outcomes. Those who have not graduated from high school are significantly more likely to report physical health issues that interfere with their daily lives. As students complete higher levels of education, the risk for developing serious health problems drops dramatically. The links between health and education are complex. Higher education is linked to better paying jobs, which are more likely to include health benefits and increased access to medical care. College graduates are also much more likely to learn about and adopt healthy habits and pass them on to their children. A recent study by the Center on Society and Health demonstrates that even when comparable care is available, those with high levels of education still have significantly better health outcomes than those with lower levels of educational attainment.
Because of the link between educational attainment and overall health, AltaMed has implemented Escalera (“Ladder”) case management programming at local high schools. Escalera helps our more than 25,000 high school-aged patients graduate from high school, pursue higher education and achieve a healthier, more successful future. The program provides students struggling to stay on-track with mentoring, case management and tutoring to make sure they have the tools to not only graduate high school, but to succeed in their continued academic and professional lives. We know that building healthy communities requires more than just clinics and doctors, so we aim to provide our teen patients with the support they need to successfully lead healthy lives.
We have made great strides in helping local high school students graduate with a plan for the future, but there are still so many more that could use our support.
Just a few years ago, Joseph had changed high schools twice and wasn’t on track to graduate. In the middle of his senior year, however, he enrolled in Escalera through the East Los Angeles Occupational Center. “I was in my high school class and someone came to introduce us to the program. My teacher immediately looked at me and said ‘join this,’” he says.
Through mentoring and educational support, the program helped Joseph make up the work he had fallen behind on and gave him the confidence to follow his dreams. While working toward his high school diploma, Joseph discovered he had a real interest in computers. He took an internship with a hospital, where he worked as a concierge. The volunteer director knew of his interest in technology, and offered him a paid IT internship. He worked in this position for two years before finding an IT opening at AltaMed.
“The case managers and Escalera staff helped me stay motivated and molded me into who I am today. I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with AltaMed,” he says. “I told the interviewers about my experiences with Escalera and how much it would mean to me to join the AltaMed family.”
Joseph came on board with AltaMed in April of 2014. For the past two years, he has worked in IT and excelled in his position. “I would not be where I am today without AltaMed and Escalera,” says Joseph. “This program completely turned my life around I could not be more thankful.”
Joseph is just one of hundreds of students that have been helped by Escalera programming and mentoring. With your help, we can continue to serve more local high school students like Joseph by helping them graduate high school and live happier, healthier lives.
$100 will provide one Escalera student with the mentoring and case management they need to succeed and lead a healthy life. AltaMed has made significant strides in increasing access to care in our communities. Join our mission!