Youth of color represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. youth population. According to new research by the Center for Promise, the research institute of America’s Promise Alliance, fear, along with inequitable access to social supports, opportunities and experiences essential for healthy development, place this group at increased risk for poor health outcomes.
Released in November, Barriers to Wellness: Voices and Views from Young People in Five Cities highlights the work and findings of youth in five cities – Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and St. Paul – as they set out to design and lead a research study to explore what affects their health and wellness.
Despite differences in approach and geography, the young researchers found meaningfully similar results. Across all five cities, youth of color cited stressors like racial profiling, lack of access to community resources, unsafe neighborhoods, and fear of police – alongside traditional health challenges like drug use – as major obstacles to wellness.
During the webinar, the Center for Promise research team along with our partners in Boston and Philadelphia discussed what they learned about both the state of youth wellness across the country and the power of youth-led, community-based participatory research.
Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, Boston University School of Social Work
Jamorris Patterson, Youth Researcher, Boston
Dy’Mon Pendelton, Youth Researcher, Philadelphia
Jennifer Whistler, Education Coordinator, JEVS Human Services, Philadelphia
Craig McClay, Advisor for Youth Engagement, Center for Promise
About Barriers to Wellness
Youth researchers in five cities, under the guidance of Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez, Professor at the BU School of Social Work, identified and prioritized health areas and threats in their communities and led the assessment design and implementation. Adult program staff at each site in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and St. Paul supported the young people with protocol development and implementation and data analysis. The end result, Barriers to Wellness, features the common themes that emerged across the five cities.
Barriers to Wellness and this webinar are generously supported by Target