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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below, we have tried to answer the most common questions visitors to this Web site may have. If you find that your question is not answered on this page, please email Mark Stapf.

What skills do Health Advocates learn?

Health Advocates (HAs) learn emergency first-aid and peer counseling skills. Upon completion of the three-term course, Red Cross certifications in Emergency Response, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Automated External Defibrillation Training, Oxygen Administration, and Preventing Disease Transmission are issued.

What are the responsibilities and duties of the Health Advocate?

The expectation of the Health Advocates (HAs) is that they will respond to situations in their House and within the campus community that require emergency first-aid, attention to routine medical problems, or peer counseling or crisis intervention. HAs are actively involved in the prevention of individual and group problems and also serve as liaisons between the Student Health and Counseling Centers and the Houses. HAs act as health information and referral sources, and are expected to work closely with the House Resident Associates (RAs) in all appropriate areas.

Are there any additional costs to participate in the Health Advocate Program?

Yes, there is a charge of $65 per term. These monies supplement the costs incurred for practice materials, books (Emergency Medical Response text and workbook both printed and electronic) and a Health Advocate (HA) Kit for each student. The HA Kit (valued at approximately $425) includes medical equipment and supplies and is embroidered with the student’s name.

What medical supplies and/or equipment do the Health Advocates receive?

Each student will receive a Health Advocate Kit (valued at approximately $425) that includes a professional paramedic bag embroidered with the student’s name, a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, scissors, tweezers, various over-the-counter medications, antiseptics, micropore tape, tongue blades, Steri-strips, digital thermometers, non-latex gloves, cold packs, gauze, bandages, pads, splints and other miscellaneous emergency supplies.

Are all Health Advocates premed majors?

No. While this experience may help those applying to medical school, the program is not tailored specifically for premed students.

When can I become a Health Advocate?

The application process begins during the Spring of each year, at which time, current frosh and sophomores (i.e. rising sophomores and juniors) may apply. Training begins first term the following academic year and continues throughout that academic year. Once the training is successfully completed, students are expected to serve in the Health Advocate position for at least one additional year.

Why are Freshman and Seniors not allowed to participate in the Health Advocate Program?

We do not accept Frosh because they are still adjusting to college life during their first year on campus. Seniors are not accepted because they usually graduate from Caltech at the completion of the training and are therefore not able to serve as Health Advocates afterwards.

Why is the Health Advocate course only open for enrollment in the first term?

The Health Advocate course is only open for enrollment during the first term because it takes all three terms to complete.

What other volunteer opportunities are available to those who successfully complete the Health Advocate program?

Health Advocates have the opportunity to use their skills while volunteering with the American Red Cross and Pasadena Fire Department at events where Red Cross Emergency Services are needed. In the past, Health Advocates have worked at Rose Bowl events and the Pasadena Rose Parade.