Authentic youth engagement in environmental health research and advocacy

Kathryn M. Cardarelli, Melinda Ickes, Luz Huntington-Moskos, Craig Wilmhoff, Angela Larck, Susan M. Pinney, Ellen J. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Training in environmental health (EH) engages and inspires youth to tackle health pro-motion and policy change. Yet, there is little guidance on how to successfully nurture and sustain youth engagement. This paper compares four case studies of youth engagement to promote EH in rural and urban communities using the Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES!) framework. Of the case studies in rural (Central Appalachia) and urban (Cincinnati, Ohio) communities, two employ citizen science approaches using PhotoVoice and environmental sampling; one engages youth in a science communication camp; and one focuses on policy advocacy. We compare and contrast these case studies using the YES! Critical Components and Empowerment levels. The case studies were discussed at the 2020 Partnerships in Environmental Public Health Meeting, where participants iden-tified challenges and possible solutions for promoting and maintaining authentic youth engagement in EH research and advocacy. Analysis of the case studies indicated that youth engagement activities focusing on the individual were more common than those targeting the organizational setting or the community. Youth demonstrate agency to impact EH issues in their communities by engaging in hands-on opportunities to practice citizen science and advocacy. Overcoming challenges to authentic young engagement is important to sustain this work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2154
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences through R01ES024771, P30ES026529, P30ES006096, and P30ES030283. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences through R01ES024771, P30ES026529, P30ES006096, and P30ES030283. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Citizen science
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Empowerment
  • Engagement
  • Environmental health
  • Science communication
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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