Of principal importance to CATCH UP is expanding access to awareness and prevention strategies for hypertension for those in lower income and often medically underserved communities.
To accomplish this goal, CATCH UP partners with student volunteer groups at multiple institutions throughout the country. The success of this strategy lies in our fundamental belief that student-led organizations function best when given autonomy from excessive bureaucracy and management from a higher institution. Rather, we encourage groups to independently choose leadership structures, student recruitment strategies, and all other aspects of a school volunteer group.
Partnership with CATCH UP requires school groups to meet only the following requirements:
- The group must train student volunteers to accurately take blood pressure readings using sphygmomanometers; many groups may choose to invite guest health care practitioners to teach students how to do this, as well as use online resources.
- The group must partner with at least one local soup kitchen and/or shelter to set up regular screenings shifts, during which a group of 2-3 student volunteers go to these locations and offer to conduct screenings. Of course, most groups function at multiple sites with a more complex shift schedule.
- The group must teach student volunteers about hypertension; this includes risk factors, management strategies, ways to communicate these ideas to those being screened, and finding affordable health care options for students to refer low-income individuals to (such as a federally qualified community health center or student-led free clinic).
- CATCH UP expects these groups to prove that they are dynamic; we work with these student groups to expand their organizations and fund raise for additional resources needed to keep the group running optimally. Student groups formally report back to CATCH UP twice per semester to let us know how they are doing, and what they may need from us.