Making Health a Shared Value of Youth Culture (The HAVOYCE Project)

Project Summary

Health As a shared Value Of Youth CulturE (HAVOYCE) is a campaign to eradicate Type 2 diabetes (T2D) in youth by inspiring youth to become powerful messengers who use the art of spoken word to shift mindsets and expectations away from “shame and blame” towards "the bigger picture": reversing T2D’s social and environmental drivers. The project focuses on capturing the effects of the intervention on Making Health A Shared Value Drivers: mindset and expectations, sense of community, and civic engagement.

Photo credit: Bethanie Hines. 

Research Question(s)

  • Does the HAVOYCE arts-based public health literacy program:
    • shift mindsets and expectations towards a socio-ecological understanding of T2D and its related disparities?
    • lead to a greater sense of community belonging and affiliation?
    • generate more civic engagement related to health, justice, and other socio-environmental concerns?


  • Inform schools and school districts about how programs in the arts, such as HAVOYCE, may bridge with other sectors to improve health in underserved communities – especially for youth.


Students exposed to The Bigger Picture curriculum were more likely to identify that diabetes is not just an individual problem, but a structural problem with environmental, historical, political, and sociocultural roots. These sentiments were also reflected in analyses of their spoken word poetry.

  • Students receiving an arts-based type 2 diabetes public health literacy curriculum more frequently articulated the connections between race/ethnicity and type 2 diabetes as a social justice issue than those in the non-health-focused arts-based program.
  • Review of poems created by students in the arts-based type 2 diabetes program revealed youth’s detailed understanding of the structural factors impacting type 2 diabetes.
  • The program deepened students’ alignment with of health as a shared value, positively influencing their mindsets and expectations around health equity and its drivers, while upholding their sense of community and confidence around civic engagement.


Making Health a Shared Value Drivers: Changes in mindsets and expectations about the causes of T2D, sense of community and school belonging, and civic engagement


School-level randomized trial involving six public high schools in San Francisco Unified School District. Three schools are randomized to be HAVOYCE Schools and three to be active control schools. The control schools receive usual Youth Speaks programming associated with its established year-long artist-in-residence initiative. Compared to control schools that instigate art on a range of issues that emerge from the students’ lived experiences, HAVOYCE Schools attempt to influence the culture of a school as a whole, convey health-promoting information to youth, and elicit spoken word pieces on specific topics from youth.

Young African American woman passionately speaking into a microphone on stage.
Grantee and Partner organizations

University of California, San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations
Youth Speaks
UC Berkeley School of Public Health
San Francisco Unified School District
Shape Up San Francisco
California School-Based Health Alliance

Grant status
Principal investigators
Dean Schillinger, MD
Cristy Johnston Limon, MBA
Start date
Award amount
24 months

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