Online Program

Where's the health equity focus?: Youth digital media programs in the United States

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Brianna Ensslin, MPH, Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc., Hamilton, NJ
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Background: Youth digital media programs encourage young people to explore their identities, voices, and the world-at-large. Such programs offer a range of opportunities that can positively impact the health and well-being of participants' and their communities. However, program objectives vary. Objective: Given the increasing importance of the internet and digital media in the lives of U.S. youth, we explored whether such programs explicitly discuss equity in their online program descriptions. Methods: A master program list was created via searches of academic databases, Google, the Youth Media Reporter and Future500 using the following program inclusion criteria: participants were ≤26-years-old, active organization website, youth-driven program and work. Digital media was defined as computer or other technology-based forms of photography, music, film, writing, or radio. We considered whether youth had a meaningful role in producing the media communication, whether it was publicly accessible, and the content's purpose. Results: We explored a final sample of 88 programs across multiple domains: program/organization structure and objective, theme, explicit focus on youth of racial/ethnic minority populations, whether the program incorporated equity. For a few representative programs, we created and used a rubric to gather more in-depth qualitative data. We found that 20 programs had an explicit equity focus while 39 had no discussion of equity or equality. 18 programs focused on a particular racial/ethnic minority population. Discussion: Digital media programs serve as an innovative outlet for youth to gain self-esteem, learn how to communicate via digital means, engage in collaboration, develop critical thinking skills, and hone self and community advocacy skills; such internet communication proficiency is known to impact youth health and development. However, few youth digital media programs explicitly consider equity or focus on marginalized youth populations, both of which are essential for fostering social change – a primary tenet of youth digital media.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define: youth digital media programs, youth voice, and equity. Explain: the relationship between digital media programs and youth health. Compare: various youth digital media programs using the outlined scoping methods and rubric analysis.

Keyword(s): Youth, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research and policy work focuses on nonhealth programs and policies that impact health, including health equity, health in all policies, education, literacy, youth. I have conducted research concerning youth development via urban planning as well as racial residential segregation and racism and child health. I have also given many presentations/trainings on these and related topics. I have also taught youth of all ages in various capacities for over 15 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.