Youth Advisory Group Comments on Active Outdoor Play
June 8th, 2015
Will Pickett and fellow researcher Susan Herrington from ParticipACTION released a Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play saying:
"Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks—is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature."
Since this topic is so closely related to the concept of Safe Risk that our Youth Advisory Group has been discussing throughout the year, they were invited to commented on the Position Statement.
Here is what they had to say:
“From our experience as Canadian young people, this statement coincides with what we believe contributes to fun, healthy, and active child development. From our perspective, which stems from our research and personal experience, this statement accurately identifies priorities for child active outdoor play.”
Nel Completes her Practicum in Nunavut
Research Assistant Nel Vandermeer completed her Master of Public Health practicum up in Arviat, Nunavut doing an evaluation of their Community Cluster Plan. The Community Cluster Plan is a group of public health and wellness programs funded by the Government of Nunavut. Examples of some of these programs she evaluated are a day care program, a youth drop-in centre, a school breakfast program and a youth summer camp.
Val and Lindsay Attend Thinking Qualitatively
On June 15th Dr. Valerie Michaelson and MSc. Student Lindsay Favotto attended the Thinking Qualitatively workshop series in Edmonton, Alberta. During this week-long workshop they participated in daily information sessions and interacted with fellow researchers from across the world. Information sessions that they participated in included: conducting mixed methods research, rigour, focus groups, publishing, innovation and community-based participatory research. Both gained knowledge and expertise to apply in their upcoming research projects from these sessions
Youth Advisory Group Timeline
Our Youth Advisory Group have been hard at work in the last year! After discussion around what issues concern youth these days, the members of the Youth Advisory Group decided to focus on the topic of Safe Risk. Click on the timeline below to read all about what they have been up to.
Lindsay Awarded CIHR Grant
MSc. Student Lindsay Favotto has been awarded a Fredrick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This award program was established in 2003 with the purpose of allowing more students to continue into graduate studies in Canada. With the Child Health 2.0 Research group, Lindsay is currently working on her masters thesis in epidemiology entitled “Connections with a screen: The impact of computer-mediated communication on the health of Canadian adolescents”.
Laura in Nunavut
While in Arviat this spring Laura carried out preliminary research for her thesis on the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in Canadian children. This thesis has a particular focus on the northern territories, especially Nunavut, since sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is particularly high in these areas. In Arviat, Laura was able to interview principals and teachers on pop consumption and the Drop the Pop program which encourages school-aged children to make healthy food and beverage choices. She also interviewed store managers and health professionals to get an overall picture of pop consumption in the community and its health effects. Laura feels that this research has given her the background and motivation needed to inform and move forward with her thesis work.
Public Health Sciences Day
Val presented some preliminary findings at the Public Health Sciences Day at Queen's, and shared an idea that emerged in our focus groups about using metaphors to think about health. One of our favourites was the metaphor of health being like a "building a house". Press the button to link to more.
Youth Advisory Group is Launched!
Research Associates Sophie Moore, Nel Vandermeer and Lindsay Favotto at our first Youth Advisory Meeting. We had a terrific gathering with some very thoughtful young people, and look forward to reporting on our upcoming projects.
Youth Focus Groups in the Big City!
July 7, 2014
To compliment the focus groups that have been happening in all parts of the province, this week we completed two focus groups with youth in Toronto! These groups were youth who have grown up in a large city and also young people who have immigrated to Canada. We know that perceptions of health can be impacted by our physical surroundings and by culture so we will be very interested to see how the discussions we have in Toronto might compare.
Colleen Heads North Again - Arviat, Nunavut July 2014
"Today I went out to the Summer Camp site a few minutes outside of town. My colleague Shirley Tagalik showed me the great spot where Arviat kids get to swim, canoe, kayak and just spend time on the land. Two Queen's University students are helping the local counselors who run the camp for almost 150 kids daily. The fire weed and arctic cotton abounded. The sun was glorious on the water."
"These are the Arviat Junior Rangers! I had the chance to ask them what is great about the JR program. They love to have pellet gun competitions in the Community Hall. They love to get the opportunity to travel to meet other JRs in Whitehorse or even Calgary. They said that when they meet for Junior Rangers they get to play games and spend time with their friends. Sometimes they learn about reading maps, first aid, hiking or ice safety. Here they are saying ATII- LET"S DO IT! "
"Two other places I visited were the Shared Care Society and the Aboriginal Head Start Program. Shared Care is a daycare cooperative that allows young parents to work, go to school or just generally access affordable child care. Aboriginal Head Start is a preschool Early Childhood Education program for 4-year olds. Arviat has an annual birth rate of between 70-100 babies. WOW- the population is only 3000! Youth make up 2/3 of the population here. These programs are such important pieces of the family wellness puzzle."
From July 7-14, 2014 Colleen headed to Arviat, Nunavut to meet with some youth and the amazing team at the Arviat Wellness Centre who run some incredible programs for youth. It truley is the land of the midnight sun this time of year!
Consultation Meeting with the Limestone District School Board and KFL&A Public Health
June 26, 2014
Thanks to everyone who came out to our consultation meeting with the Limestone District School Board and the School Health Team of the Kingston Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health Unit. We were able to ask curriculum planners and school health specialists what the strength, weaknesses and opportunities of the current health curriculum and board activities. Meeting participants were very enthusiastic and offered lots of great ideas and insight. We look forward to continuing these discussions!
Farzana Participates in "Thinking Qualitatively" 2014
June 15-21, 2014
Our MSc Epidemiology student Farzana Haq headed out to Edmonton, Alberta this week to participate in a week-long qualitative research methods workshop called "Thinking Qualitatively". She was able to take sessions on qualitative methodologies, data collection, analysis and writing for publication. The University of Alberta hosts this workshop every year and we are really happy that Farzana got a chance to attend in 2014.
Checking in Again in Kingston - Team Meeting Year 1!
June 14, 2014
As part of our iterative qualitative methodology, we are adapting and improving our focus group questions and activities with the input from young people in each group. In June we were fortunate enough to have a chance to go back to some of our original teens from Kingston to check with them about our findings so far. Margie, Val, Jenny, Colleen, Farzana and Will all attended the event and so there was a full team meeting as well!
Thanks especially go out to Margie and Farzana who helped with the logistics (food, organization of the room, the setting out of supplies for the youth). This is a great team we are building here at Queen's University!
The Child Health 2.0 Team 2014: (from left) Jenny, Colleen, Will, Margie, Farzana, Val.
Qualitative Study Obtains Research Ethics Approval
December 10, 2013
Jenny and Val worked hard to put together the Queen's Health Research Ethics Board Application for project #1: Perceptions of Health Among Canadian Adolescents: A qualitative study. After some back-and-forth with reviews and a few adaptations made, we're happy to annouce that REB approval has been granted and that focus groups will start March 1, 2014.
Kingston-based Focus Group a Success!
March 1, 2014
On March 1, 2014 Val, Jenny, Farzana and Colleen met a group of six, keen female adolescents at the Central Library in Kingston to undertake a focus group to explore their perceptions of health. We were very pleased with how smoothly the focus group ran (thanks to the wonderful preparation of the facilitators Jenny and Val and especially, thanks to the thoughtful insights by the youth participants). Students were asked to think about traditional definitions of health and share their own opions about what health is. Looking at a number of pictures also helped us to explore different aspects of health together. The data we collected was very rich, which wouldn't have happened without such thoughtful participants!
We're now gearing up for our second group later in March.
Central Branch, Kingston Frontenac Public Library
Terrific meetings with potential partners and collaborators
Ice Palace at the Snowking Winter Festival
March 7, 2014
Colleen and Val undertook a research trip to Yellowknife between March 3-7. They had terrific meetings with potential collaborators and partners from the three territories. In particular, they discussed a potential project around nutritional and oral health of children in the north.
Throughout the meetings, the importance of the "health promoting family" and a "holistic approach to caring for children" came up over and over again. The weather was crisp and beautiful and we came back excited, encouraged and eager to share what we have learned. Watch this space for more news about these possible projects.
March 2014 Research Trip to the North
March 10, 2014
Spring is in the air and our qualitative research on how youth define and perceive health in modern society continues to progress really well. Val and Jenny were able to lead focus groups in Wiarton (in Bruce County near Georgian Bay, Ontario) and Trenton, Ontario over the past few weeks. Thanks to the 12 young people who took part. Thanks also to Will and Sharan who were also able to attend one of the groups and assist with audio recording, food and ensuring everyone felt welcome. Next are focus groups hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and focus groups in northern Ontario and in the big city of Toronto!
We are also busy planning our summer research analysis sessions, the background work for new projects, convening the youth advisory group, and the recruitment of new Masters and PhD students. Please contact us if you are interested in being involved in the emerging program of research!
Youth Focus Groups Continue in Wiarton and Trenton
April 8, 2014
Thanks to the Kingston Boys and Girls Club, we were able to run a recent health focus group in Kingston with youth ages 11-15 years. Young people helped us develop definitions of health as well as identifying metaphors that might help youth communicate their ideas about health. We add this material to those of our previous focus groups. Thanks Boys and Girls Club for your partnership and assistance!
Boys and Girls Club of Kingston Hosts Focus Group
April 20, 2014
The beautiful town of Capreol in northeastern Ontario was the site of our most recent focus group. Val, Jennie and volunteer Teen Research Assistant Charis ran the group. This was the first group that had a chance to talk about the medicine wheel as a model of health. There was lots of energy in the room. Thanks to the local youth of Capreol for their participation!
Northern Focus Group a Resounding Success!
Welcome to a new Research Assistant: Margaret McKerron
May 10, 2014
We are pleased to welcome a new research assistant named Margaret McKerron. Margie comes to us from Vancouver where she is working on an MA in Theological (Interdisciplinary) Studies. She completed a degree in Philosophy at Queen's and has experience working in knowledge translation and science education at the University of Waterloo. Margie will be assisting Val and Jenny this summer with the qualitative project as well as undertaking a review of the Ontario Health curriculum. Welcome Margie!
May 14, 2014
Val, Margie and Colleen were able to meet with Indigenous students from the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre at Queen's University this week. We went through the youth focus group material with them and got their ideas and perceptions about health as well as their ideas for how the material could be adapted for use in Indigenous contexts. The students liked the photo activity and they identified with some of our emerging metaphors as well. They also whole-heartedly supported the use of the medicine wheel. Thanks Four Directions for your partnership and assistance!
Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre Focus Group
June 3-7, 2014
For the second year Queen's University has hosted a Summer Institute in Knowledge Translation (KT) for Global Health. Colleen is the annual co-chair. This year Val, Farzana and Margie were also able to attend and work on the KT plan for our program of research. We completed a comprehensive stakeholder map, a KT and project timeline and also designed a KT plan including some deliberative dialogue. It was a fantastic week to be able to hone our KT skills as well as focus on the knowledge translation aspects of our own program.
Team Benefits from Knowledge Translation Course
Website Goes Live
We are very excited to have the website up and running so that we can keep you updated on the interesting work we are doing.
Check us out on Facebook:
And on Twitter:
Youth Advisory Group meet in the New Year
The members of the Youth Advisory Group have started their monthly meetings again! Here are the youth, researchers and research assistants participating in an icebreaker activity called the Human Knot. Icebreaker activities help everyone to feel comfortable with each other before we get to work discussing our topic of overprotection and safe risk.
Youth Advisory Group Host a Round Table Discussion
As part of their investigation into safe risk and overprotection, the Youth Advisory Group invited a few experts to come in and talk with them. The Youth prepared questions in advance and had a great discussion with their panel of experts. A special thank you our experts:
Dr. Sian Phillips, Adolescent and Child Psychologist
Mr. Chris Davison, Elementary School Teacher, LDSB
Dr. Susan Bartels, Emergency Doctor, KGH
Dr. Heather Murray, Emergency Doctor, KGH
Youth Advisory Group Goes to RKY
In the early spring the member of the Youth Advisory Group invited their friends along for a trip out to RKY. RKY is a non-profit camp on the shores of Eagle Lake. The youth spent the day practicing trust and cooperation activities. They explored the idea of safe risk in play while climbing on the ropes courses. Thanks for having us out RKY!
Colleen, Will and Val Awarded CIHR Grant
The Child Health 2.0 research team received a CIHR Grant to study the determinants of health among young people in Canada with a focus on the role of health promoting families.
Will, Val, Sian and Colleen Awarded CIHR Grant
Congratualtions to Will Pickett, Val Michaelson, Sian Phillips and Colleen Davison who were awarded an additional CIHR grant to study how child spiritual health can act as a protective asset for good health.
Congratulations to Lindsay and Laura
Congratulation to MSc Epidemiology candidates Lindsay Favotto and Laura Davis for successfully defending their thesis proposals.
Research Team Members Attends Healthy Together Facilitator Training
Colleen, Lindsay, Jess and Nel all attendended the Healthy Together Facilitators training in Hamilton, On on November 10th and 11th. Healthy Together is an innovative and unique family education model that brings families together to learn to make healthy choices and build healthy relationships.
Congratulations to Research Assistant Farzana on her Graduation
Congratulations to Farzana Haq on graduating with her Master of Science in Epidemiology. It was great having you as a member of the Child Health 2.0 Research Team.
Val Michaelson Featured on the Queen's Website and Campus Magazine
Congratulations to Val for being featured by Queen's University for her work with the Department of Public Health Sciences and the School of Religion. In her interview, Val explains how her work with each department compliments the other, and the aspect that connects it all for her: childhood.
Youth Advisory Group Releases Documentary on Overprotection
On Sunday February 21st, The Child Health 2.0 Youth Advisory Group hosted a research showcase where they screened their documentary on the subject of Overprotection & Safe Risk. Over the past year, the youth have been exploring this topic and they are very excited to share what they have learned.
Val spoke with a reporter from The Whig about the upcoming Child Health 2.0 Research Showcase. The Showcase will feature a documentary made by our Youth Advisory Group on the topic of over-protection and safe risk. To read more about Val's interview, click on the link below.
Interview with the Kingston Whig-Standard on Upcoming Documentary Release
Youth Advisory Group Featured in the Queen's Gazette
The youth hosted an event at the Tett Centre where they shared their documentary and talked more about the issue of over-protection and safe risk. The youth advisory group summarized their findings saying "Kids need to learn that it's okay to make mistakes. You have to take risks to learn successfully"
Youth Advisory Group Interviewed by the Toronto Star
Members of our youth advisory took some time to speak with the Toronto Star about their work on the issue of overprotection and safe risk. Check out what they had to say by clicking on the link below!
CBC Ontario Morning interviewed researcher Val Michaelson on the Youth Advisory Group's work
Val spoke with Ontario Morning's Wei Chen about how the youth decided to explore the issue of safe risk, as well as the long term consequences of overprotecting children. Click on the link to the right and fast forward to 27min in to listen to the interview with Val!
Research assistant Nel Vandermeer interviewed by CTV Northern Ontario
CTV's Sacha Novack spoke with research assistant Nel Vandermeer about the Youth Advisory Group's work and their recently released documentary on overprotection and safe risk. To watch the whole interview, click on the link below.
Youth Advisory Group presents to Nobel Prize winner
The Youth Advisory Group opened for keynote speaker Nobel Prize winner Arthur McDonald at the Inquiry at Queen's conference. After the event Dr. McDonald spent some time talking with the youth about school, as well as their overprotection and safe risk project. Thank you for talking with us Dr. McDonald!
New Global Health research project launched in Mynamar
Congratulations to Colleen and her research partners Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine), Eva Purkey (Family Medicine), Heather Aldersey (Rehabilitation Therapy), Shruti Sebastian (Family Medicine) and Hugh Guan (Family Medicine) for launching their new Global Health research project in Mynamar. Their project will be implementing a monitoring and evaluation program for hepatitis B vaccinations for newborn babies in Karenni State which the goal of decreasing mother to child transmission.
Master's student Lindsay Favotto competes in Queen's 3 Minute Thesis Competition
Congratulations to research assistant Lindsay Favotto who successfully competed in the Three Minute Thesis competition at Queen's University. Lindsay's thesis explores the impact of computer mediated communication on the health of Canadian adolescents.
Master's student Laura Davis presents at Queen's Northern Research Symposium
Congratulations to Master of Epidemiology student Laura who presented her poster at the Queen's University Northern Research Symposium. Laura's thesis explores the prevelance and patterns of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among Canadian youth, with a specific focus on northern populations.
Youth Advisory Group collaborates with Dr. Val Steeves
The Youth Advisory Group were excited to welcome Dr. Val Steeves, a researcher from the University of Ottawa, to their final meeting of the year. Dr. Steeves will be collaborating with the group on a new project about social media use and how it affects the health of Canadian youth.
Congratulations to Research Assistant Lindsay Favotto for successfully defending her thesis
Congratualtions to Lindsay who has now completed her Master of Science in Epidemiology. Her thesis title was Connection with a Screen: The Impact of Computer-Mediated Communication on the Health of Canadian Adolescents and her supervisors were Dr. Colleen Davison and Dr. Will Pickett.
Val and Nel attend a workshop on Risky and Unstructured Play
Kid Active and Paddle Canada put on a great workshop out at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area. Val and Nel not only had the opportunity to participate in discussions about challenges faced and implementing knowledge into action, but they also got to do a short presentation on the Youth Advisory Group's work on safe risks.
Researchers and Research Assistants help run Healthy Together classes
Colleen, Val, Lindsay and Nel all worked with members of the KFL&A Public Health Unit School Health team to provide Healty Together classes to Kingston children and their families. This was the pilot year of the program and classes were offered through the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston, Katarokwi Aboriginal School and Rideau Heights Public School.
Congratulations to Research Assistant Nel Vandermeer on her graduation
Congratulations to Nel Vandermeer on graduating with her Master of Public Health. It was great having you as a member of the Child Health 2.0 Research Team.
Val's research on spiritual health featured in the Queen's Gazette
This research focuses on the connections between health and well-being, and spiritual health, which is defined as "an awareness of the sacred qualities of life and is connected to experiences of compassion, wonder and the search for meaning". Spiritual health was measured by looking at connections in four domains: to 1) oneself; 2) to others; 3) to the natural world and 4) to some kind of larger meaning to life. One major finding from this research was that the importance of spiritual health decreases as children get older, but for those who maintain its importance, the strong and positive health benefits are remarkable. To learn more about Val's research, click on the link below.
Congratulations to Research Assistant Laura Davis for successfully defending her thesis
Congratulations to Laura who has now completed her Master of Science in Epidemiology. Her thesis title was Patterns of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in Canadian Children Grades 6 to 10 and her superisors were Dr. Colleen Davison and Dr. Will Pickett.
Dr. Will Pickett is a PhD Epidemiologist, and the co-Principal Investigator of Child Health 2.0. He is also one of the Principal Investigators of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. Along with Dr. Colleen Davison and the other HBSC Canada investigators, Dr. Pickett's research efforts contributed to the National Report, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) in Canada: A focus on Relationships. This report was published this year and highlights findings from the 2014 HBSC cycle.
This report states, “Healthy relationships are key in the transition to adulthood, developing resiliency, and protecting against illness. It examines how family support, school climate, community and peer support influence youth health outcomes. The promotion of healthy relationships has been linked to children’s positive development in terms of physical, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive competencies – all of which underpin the overall well- being of youth.”
Results from HBSC has demonstrated there are key concerning areas affecting health for Canadian youth. Canadian youth are not meeting recommendations for:
Almost 4 in 5 Canadian youth do not meet recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity
Almost 9 in 10 do not meet recommendations for screen time
Almost 1 in 3 do not meet recommendations for sleep duration
National Report, Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children in Canada: A focus on Relationships
Research Assistant Danica Desjardins Completes her Practicum in Arviat, Nunavut
Inuuqatigiitsiarniq is an Inuktitut word meaning “respecting others, relationships, and living well together.” Drawing inspiration from this Inuit societal value, Dr. Colleen Davison collaborated with Shirley Tagalik, head of the Aqqiumavvik Society in Arviat, Nunavut, to outline a vision for a grassroots program that would promote healing in the community. MPH student Danica Desjardins supported various teams of local Inuit people in Arviat to carry out this vision.
Together, they organized a series of gatherings for different groups of the population – including Elders, youth, families, women, and med – that provided a platform for the discussion of issues deemed important by each group, with a focus on the impacts of colonialism and forced relocation as well as integration of the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) principles into everyday life. Activities for children and youth included the creation of a community Nunavut Day collage, in which children were invited to draw a picture depicting a time they felt their family was strong together, and an evening workshop for older youth. Based on the Makimautiksat summer camp, the evening workshop promoted healthy relationships and coping skills.
Will Pickett and Valerie Michaelson also journeyed to Arviat to speak with Elders and youth about spiritual health. The photo to the lef is showing Danica helping with a community health promotion radio program in Arviat.
The Road to Reconciliation and the Protection of Children: Engaging with robust theologies that honour the dignity of children
Over the past 150 years, the Christian churches' record of child protection has been seriously marred by their involvement in the Indian Residential Schools. A common theme of former students' experiences in these schools was the infliction of corporal punishment in response to their perceived misconduct, which included speaking their native languages, resisting sexual abuse, and running away to their homes. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has brought to light churches' complicit role in the profound damage this treatment has wrought in the lives of Indigenous children, families, and communities. The TRC's 6th Call to Action is a call to repeal section 43 of Canada's Criminal Code. Based on British common law allowing corporal punishment "to correct what is evil in the child," section 43 still justifies the use of corporal punishment by teachers, parents and those standing in the place of parents. It has been used as a defense to the assault of children in homes and schools for centuries and allowed those operating the Indian Residential Schools to inflict violence on children with impunity. If churches are to carry out their critical role in reconciliation, they must champion child protection as a core value and explicitly address corporal punishment, which is often justified by shallow and inadequate theologies.
The churches' commitment to reconciliation will be measured by the ways in which they respond to the TRC's Calls to Action. This “Road to Reconciliation” project focuses specifically on the churches' role in moving forward Call to Action 6. Led by Dr. William Morrow at the Queen’s School of Religion, and Dr. Valerie Michaelson (School of Religion and Department of Public Health Sciences), and guests Anglican Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald and Dr. Marcia Bunge from Gustavus Adolphus College, a group of 25 key stakeholders have been brought together. It is an unusual combination: Indigenous leaders, students and community members; Public Health researchers, educators and social workers; and Christian theologians and church leaders.
They are brought together by their mutual desire to participate in the process of reconciliation and their purpose is to write a theologically based consensus statement on corporal punishment and the TRC's 6th Call to Action. This event will mark Canada's 150th birthday by producing a position statement that can be generally endorsed by Canadian churches about corporal punishment, and that articulates its vision for child protection in the new millennium.
We will post the position statement here after the forum, so check back soon.
Senator Landon Pearson visits Queens to discuss corporal Punishment and the Rights of the Child:
The Honourable Landon Pearson from The Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights visited Queen’s on October 17th to discuss with student’s issues surrounding corporal punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Senator Pearson has been a champion in the rights and well-being of children and has changed the face of what it means to be a child in Canada.