Vermont RAYS

VT RAYS (Raise Awareness for Youth Services) is a youth group focused on adolescent and young adult public health issues, with a particular interest in improving access and utilization of preventive health services.  Under the leadership of the Youth Health Improvement Initiative at the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP), and in partnership with Vermont Afterschool, the VT RAYS connect with primary care practices throughout Vermont to help identify adolescent health priority areas, increase engagement, and improve quality of youth services.  Additionally, VCHIP provides opportunities to bring the youth voice and perspective to other state partners and collaborators, creating an impact at the policy level.


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Goals &
  • VT RAYS aims to amplify youth voice and engagement in youth health-focused activities.
  • In 2023, VT RAYS recruited and onboarded 15 youth members ranging from 13-20 years old across seven Vermont counties.
  • VT RAYS members have represented the youth voice in multiple statewide projects and learning sessions. 
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  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on School Health (COSH) published personal stories written by two VT RAYS members, Julia and Kate. They wrote about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their stories are posted with permission.
  • The VT RAYS and Vermont Afterschool partnered to convene a State Youth Advisory Group (SYAG) to focus on Health Equity in 2021. A report maps out the group’s suggestions for strategies and recommendations to affect change around health equity. Read the Health Equity Report.
  • Four VT RAYS members participated in a panel discussion, “Hot Topics in Social Justice:  Important Issues that Impact Youth Mental Health” at VCHIP’s 2022 CHAMP Learning Session. 
  • Five VT RAYS presented at the April 6, 2022, University of Vermont Medical Center’s Pediatric Grand Rounds titled, “Youth Friendly and Culturally Responsive Care: A Youth Led Panel”. Follow the steps below to access the recording.
  • If you are interested in viewing the recording, please click here to request access.
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Youth Voice
  • Have you ever wondered how to bring the perspectives and thoughts of youth to your work? Click here to learn about the VT RAYS Youth Advisory Board and how they can meaningfully contribute to your work and practice.  
Clinic Supports
Youth -- Parents/Caregivers -- Healthcare Providers
For Youth
  • Access information here on topics such as healthy nutrition guidance, sexual and reproductive health, LGBTQ & Transgender health, and alcohol and drug support.
  • View a video of the VT RAYS as they share a youth perspective on issues that affect adolescent health care. (Scroll to the bottom for the video.)
For Parents/Caregivers
  • Access resources here for parenting adolescents and young adults including information on understanding adolescent health, drowning and fire prevention, recommended immunizations, and mental and sexual health
For Healthcare Providers
  • Access materials here including information regarding confidentiality, eating disorders, LGBTQ and Transgender health, mental health, sexual reproductive health and education and substance use and much more. 
COVID-19 Materials
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Project Team

Erica Gibson, MD, VCHIP Faculty Advisor

Angela Zinno, MA, VCHIP Project Coordinator and VT RAYS Facilitator

Brianne Smith, Vermont Afterschool, Youth Engagement Coordinator and VT RAYS Facilitator

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