Children, Oz says, are “agents of change.”
“A lot of folks think kids are the Achilles tendon of our society, but when you think about it, kids are the future; they always will be the future,” Oz said.
Just as advertisers go after the youth market, so must health advocates, he said.
Part of the HealthCorps program that makes it successful, Oz said, is the coordinator stationed at each participating school.
At ASTEC, University of Oklahoma graduate Ryan Fightmaster is the program coordinator.
Fightmaster's full-time position centers on providing health and wellness education.
Fightmaster, 23, has postponed attending medical school for two years, the duration of his contract with HealthCorps.
Coordinators make the program more effective, Oz said, because young, accessible mentors add a “coolness factor” that helps kids relate.
Oklahoma was chosen for the program for several reasons: Continental Resources' offer of sponsorship; the state's poor standing in health reports; the high rate of childhood obesity; and civic leaders' dedication to raising awareness and improving the health of the state's kids.