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Open AccessArticle

Authentic Youth Engagement in Environmental Health Research and Advocacy

1
College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40504, USA
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College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40504, USA
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School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
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Buckhorn High School, Buckhorn, KY 41721, USA
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College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
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College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40504, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephen H. Linder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042154
Received: 29 December 2020 / Revised: 24 January 2021 / Accepted: 17 February 2021 / Published: 23 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community-Based Approaches for Reducing Health Inequities)
Training in environmental health (EH) engages and inspires youth to tackle health promotion 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 identified 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth; environmental health; citizen science; empowerment; engagement; advocacy; community-based participatory research; science communication youth; environmental health; citizen science; empowerment; engagement; advocacy; community-based participatory research; science communication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cardarelli, K.M.; Ickes, M.; Huntington-Moskos, L.; Wilmhoff, C.; Larck, A.; Pinney, S.M.; Hahn, E.J. Authentic Youth Engagement in Environmental Health Research and Advocacy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2154. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042154

AMA Style

Cardarelli KM, Ickes M, Huntington-Moskos L, Wilmhoff C, Larck A, Pinney SM, Hahn EJ. Authentic Youth Engagement in Environmental Health Research and Advocacy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(4):2154. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042154

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cardarelli, Kathryn M.; Ickes, Melinda; Huntington-Moskos, Luz; Wilmhoff, Craig; Larck, Angela; Pinney, Susan M.; Hahn, Ellen J. 2021. "Authentic Youth Engagement in Environmental Health Research and Advocacy" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 4: 2154. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042154

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