ArticlePeer Power: How Dare County, North Carolina, Is Addressing Chronic Disease Through Innovative ProgrammingThomas, Anne B. RN, BSN, MPA; Ward, Ellie RN, BSNAuthor Information Anne B. Thomas, RN, BSN, MPA, is Health Director, Dare County Department of Public Health, Manteo, North Carolina. Ellie Ward, RN, BSN, is Nursing Director, Dare Home Health & Hospice, Manteo, North Carolina. Corresponding author: Ellie Ward, RN, BSN, Dare Home Health & Hospice, PO Box 1000, Manteo, NC 27954 (e-mail: [email protected]). The authors acknowledge the Dare County Schools, whose willingness to partner with them was critical to the success of Peer Power, and the Peer Power public health educators and students who have helped make the program a success. The authors also thank the Kate B. Reynold Charitable Trust and the Health and Wellness Trust Fund for their support. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September-October 2006 - Volume 12 - Issue 5 - p 462-467 Buy AbstractIn Brief Peer Power is an innovative school-based program that trains high school students as health educators and mentors for middle school students. The program was designed to produce positive health behavior changes in youth and reduce long-term incidence of chronic diseases of the heart and lung. This program, developed at the Management Academy for Public Health, has been successful in receiving grant funds and has demonstrated positive behavioral changes in youth in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco use. Peer Power has far exceeded the anticipated outcomes and proven to be a catalyst for improved health behaviors throughout the community. Positive unintended consequences of Peer Power include the development of an effective social marketing campaign, reduction in tobacco sales to minors, and an increase in smoke-free restaurants in Dare County. Benefits received by Management Academy participants are evident through improved business and administrative skills at the Dare County Department of Public Health, the number of new and innovative programs that have succeeded in securing grant funds, and the sustainability of the programs developed. Thomas and Ward describe an innovative school-based program to educate students about health behaviors related to chronic disease. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.