We asked AMCHP members: Why is youth engagement important to your state adolescent/young adult programs?
Public Health Concentration
Youth involvement is imperative to our state
adolescent/young adult programs. Youth can aid in the success of the adolescent
health and teen pregnancy prevention programs by providing feedback, ideas, and
suggestions. Adolescents and young adults know what is most effective for
their peers. If they are involved, they are able to share their feedback
on the practices that are currently in place. Youth also tend to be
creative and have different ideas on how to solve problems. This
creativity could lead to ways to make the adolescent/young adult programs more
effective. Finally, most youth would be excited to be involved in making
their population healthier; therefore, they are willing to give suggestions and
respond to suggestions that are given to them.
New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community
I feel the importance of youth engagement in any 'program', specifically concerning 'health' is so rudimentary, that many tend to over look it. A 'healthy program' instinctually takes into account the role of interdependence and intersectionality of all living beings, at all stages of development, within the community where it's being implemented. Whether that community is a neighborhood, school, city, county, state, country or world. To have awareness of all beings (especially those that are Youthful) is to also include their lens, voice, emotions, values, beliefs and experiences that carry critical information that is necessary for a measurement to draw and assess scientifically sound conclusions, solutions and issues within a community.In essence, youthful beings are a variable with place in the equation of all communities.
Title V/MCH Perspective
By Jessica Duke
Manager, Adolescent and School Health, Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division
The Oregon Health Public Health Division, Adolescent & School Health Unit supports Youth Participatory Research (YPAR) projects with community and School-Based Health Center grantees. YPAR is an evidence-based method of engaging youth in programs and policies that impact their lives. YPAR provides opportunities for youth to build their skills in research, team work, communications and community involvement. Recently, 12 YPAR projects were completed. Youth researchers looked at teen stress and depression, mental health stigma, youth violence/increasing bystander awareness, suicide awareness, barriers to mental health services, sleep and other topics. With each project, youth shared their findings with school and community members and shared their ideas for improved mental health outcomes. The Youth Participatory Action Research curriculum is available at https://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyPeopleFamilies/Youth/Documents/CurriculumYPAR2014.pdf.