Brock looking for Niagara youth to sit on research committee

Brock University doesn’t want to just study youth. It wants to recruit them to help researchers look into the issues they face throughout adolescence.

The Brock Healthy Youth Program, or B-HYP, is seeking Niagara-based volunteers aged 14-24 to sit on a new engagement committee.

“They are going to be a sounding board,” said knowledge mobilization officer Jayne Morrish. “It’s going to help tailor the research and interpret the findings.”

She said B-HYP is set to start its first research program following more than 3,000 Niagara youth over seven years to evaluate how mental and physical health interact during adolescence.

B-HYP is focused on youth health and well-being so it is critical that we include youth.

“We are interested not only in finding out ways to prevent health problems over time, but also in finding out ways to promote youth health and well-being. Our definition of health is not only the absence of disease but it is a state of physical, mental and social well-being,” said Psychology Professor Teena Willoughby, scientific director of B-HYP.

The youth advisory committee will help researchers determine everything from questions to ask, how to best present data, connecting with youth and what issues to focus on.

“B-HYP is focused on youth health and well-being so it is critical that we include youth,” Willoughby explained. “It is hard for our study to affect change in adolescents’ lives if we do not have youth participation  – we are hoping that the youth engagement committee will help us accomplish this.”

Morrish said the research is unique because it will look at physical and mental health together.

“You can’t just look at mental health in a silo and you can’t just look at physical health in a silo. You need to look at them together because there are so many connections,” she said.

She said the study will be transdisciplinary and includes: Brock’s Centre for Lifespan Development Research, Brock-Niagara Centre for Health & Well-Being, the Centre for Healthy Development through Sport and Physical Activity and the Centre for Bone & Muscle Health.

Willoughby said B-HYP is looking for a wide variety of youth from people currently involved in research projects to those with an interest who want to learn more.

Ideally they will find 15 people to sit on the committee, Morrish said.

As a member of the B-HYP Youth Committee, youth will get an opportunity to be a part of ground-breaking research on youth, gain valuable volunteer experience and volunteer hours, obtain a reference letter and professional leadership experience for a resume, and receive opportunities for honorariums and other incentives.

For more information or to apply visit the website.

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