Improving Disadvantaged Youth Health Trajectories: Enabling and Motivating Youth to Serve as Health Ambassadors for their Families and Communities

Checkout out this project proposal for the Knight News Challenge Proposal by two CASCI folks (Beth St. Jean and Mega Subramaniam) — and go to http://tinyurl.com/newchallenge-youthhealth and comment on (or applaud) their proposal.

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Knight News Challenge Proposal

Improving Disadvantaged Youth Health Trajectories: Enabling and Motivating Youth to Serve as Health Ambassadors for their Families and Communities

Proposed by University of Maryland, College Park iSchool professors Mega Subramaniam and Beth St. Jean, along with doctoral student researchers Natalie Taylor Greene and Rebecca Follman and Master’s student Gary Goldberg, this Knight News Challenge project idea aims to encourage disadvantaged youth to serve as health advocates for their families and communities by investigating health topics, tracking their health data, and sharing this data and what they learn via a closed social network. This proposed project builds upon our ongoing project, HackHealth (hackhealth.umd.edu) with disadvantaged youth in selected schools in Maryland.

To help students to serve as health ambassadors for their families and communities, researchers will work with the school librarians and health and science teachers in selected middle schools in the Washington-metro area to create an after-school program that engages youth in (a) conducting scientific inquiry into nutritional science and disease prevention that will assist them and their family members in making choices toward a healthy lifestyle; (b) tracking their family health practices via mobile sensing technologies such as pedometers and Fitbits; (c) playing the role of information mediators, relating this information in ways that will be understood by the adults in their families through a family social media network; and (d) co-designing the closed family social media network that embeds mobile sensing technology, where youth and their families can continuously monitor and make decisions regarding their daily physical and health activities. This program will serve as a model for others to take and adapt to their specific community’s contexts and needs.

We would really appreciate feedback and applause (please go to our project space on the Knight News Challenge website: http://tinyurl.com/newchallenge-youthhealth). In addition, we’d love for you to share this idea with your social networks, friends and colleagues, and encourage them to visit this site and provide us with their thoughts.