Health Advocate Program

Our Mission

The purpose of the Health Advocate Program is to provide Caltech undergraduate students with training to become qualified “advocates” for their fellow students’ emotional and physical health.  The expectation of the Health Advocate 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, peer counseling or crisis intervention.

In support of the above goals, the Health Advocate must complete a three-term program that teaches emergency response and preventative physical and mental health skills and knowledge. Upon successful completion of the course and written and practical exams, the student will be certified at the First Responder level and will receive several Red Cross emergency services certifications.

Health Advocates also 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.

For additional information, browse the Course Information and other links above, or contact Mark Stapf, Program Director, at

Course Information

The Caltech Health Advocate Course (SA80ABC) requires enrollment for each of the 3 academic terms. Section 1 meets on Wednesday nights and Section 2 meets on Thursday nights. There is also one weekend day per term for special training. Once you complete the training, you are expected to attend follow-up meetings (about one hour) every month.

Students receive 3 units of P/F course credit per term.

As part of the Campus Safety Net, Health Advocates are actively involved in the prevention of individual and group problems, and also serve as a liaison between the Student Health and Counseling Centers and the Houses. Health Advocates act as a health information and referral source and are expected to work closely with the House Resident Associate(s) in all appropriate areas.  The Health Advocate is expected to maintain strict confidentiality on all issues of students’ physical and mental health.

Students are expected to complete reading assignments, other homework, quizzes and practical exams as assigned. The following Red Cross certifications are granted when the student passes a cumulative written exam and hands-on practical exams administered at the end of the third term:

  • Emergency Response

  • CPR for the Professional Rescuer

  • Automated External Defibrillation Training

  • Oxygen Administration

  • Preventing Disease Transmission

The catalogue description for SA80ABC is shown below.

SA80ABC. Health Advocates. 3 units (1-1-1); first, second, third terms. A course designed to involve students with health care and education, develop familiarity with common college health problems, and provide peer health services on and off campus. First term: General anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and initial emergency medical assessment; Second and third terms: CPR and first aid certification, lectures and discussions on current student and community health problems, symptoms and treatment.