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Teenagers are always on their phones. Imagine that instead of gossip, they were reading messages about how many vegetables to eat a day or where they can go to lift weights in the area. It's time to use mobile phones to our advantage to reach students with health information.

The goal of this guide is to provide you with the information you need to get a texting program started at your school. We've thought about the common limits on resources that school-based health centers might have, including staffing and budget, to come up with a program that is easy and cheap to run.

Each section identifies steps you need to take, questions to ask, resources, and tips and lessons learned from our most recent pilot program at Ballard High School.

About Public Health – Seattle & King County's work

Since 2012 the Communications Team at Public Health – Seattle & King County has been partnering with school-based health centers to explore the possibilities of using text messaging technology to send large numbers of students important information on health. Most recently, we partnered with the Teen Health Center at Ballard High School to run a pilot text-messaging program. This toolkit was prepared by Tara Bostock, a master of public health candidate in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program at University of Washington who ran the texting program at Ballard High School as her graduate capstone project.

If you have any further questions, contact: Hilary Karasz, Program Manager, Public Health Communications Team at or use our online form.