Youth who are engaged in their communities are less likely to succumb to risky behaviors and are more likely to be successful in school. Youth-related research that involves youth in its processes are more effective and accurate. These are the results of a study conducted by a team of collaborators from the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, New York University, and Washington University.
There is extensive research regarding issues affecting youth, however when youth, who are directly impacted by the results, are engaged as active informants in research, the solutions are greatly enhanced. These findings were published in the journal, Health Equity, and describe individual-level benefits to the youth participants which include improved self-efficacy, self-empowerment, and positive identity formation. Research was conducted by evaluating the Youth Research Fellows Training (YRFT) program which is adapted from the Community Research Fellows Training (CRFT) program. CRFT is an evidence-based training program to increase research literacy among adults (≥18 years old) based on a standard Masters in Public Health (MPH) curriculum.
The goal of CRFT is to increase the role of minority and medically underserved communities in the research enterprise by developing the foundational infrastructure for community-academic partnerships through community research capacity building. CRFT has been implemented and evaluated in St. Louis, MO (four cohorts), Jackson, MS (two cohorts), and Hattiesburg, MS (one cohort). The YRFT pilot program fellows were African-American girls ranging from ages 10 to 14 years, and who were participants of the GCF 2018 New Jersey Summer Camp.
The results of the YRFT pilot program make a signiﬁcant contribution to enhancing the infrastructure for youth-academic partnerships in public health, increasing the potential for studies that address issues of importance to youth and can lead to the reduction of health disparities.
Collaborators include: Dr. Melody S. Goodman (New York University), Ms. Ejiro Gbaje (New York University), Ms. Sallie M. Yassin (New York University), Dr. Janice Johnson Dias (GrassROOTS Community Foundation), Dr. Keon Gilbert (Saint Louis University), and Dr. Vetta Thompson (Washington University).