Health xChange Vancouver
28 June 2022
Michael Smith Health Research BC was thrilled to partner with SFU and Vancouver Foundation to host our fourth annual Health xChange in Vancouver on June 16. Health xChange is an annual evening of storytelling that brings together researchers, research user partners, and those interested in health research to share and learn about research evidence in a fun and engaging way. After a two-year hiatus, this year was extra special as we also had the pleasure of partnering with the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum as part of their local networking event for the knowledge translation community.
It was an exciting night as attendees discussed how youth-led and youth-engaged approaches help to re-define research and knowledge. Using a PechaKucha format (20 slides, shown for 20 seconds each), presenters shared stories on how their youth-engaged research can improve the wellbeing of young people.
Topics varied from youth-led research on vaping, to improving services for Indigenous justice-involved youth, to arts-based dialogue towards policy change, to amplifying the voices of non-binary youth in team sports.
“What stood out to me in all the presentations was the commitment to meeting youth where they were at, as opposed to expecting youth to do the work of figuring out how to engage with the research projects themselves,” says Tanvi Bhatia, the moderator for the evening. This was modelled in the use of different modes of engagement — surveys, advisory groups, discussions – and reaching out to youth via organizations and people they trusted, which helped to build strong relationships and give youth a stake in the research projects.
Research findings were disseminated in ways that were creative, youth-centric and accessible to different audiences. “I noticed the ways in which each project was built upon collaboration — between youth, researchers, organizations, funders and more — in a way that connected ideas with resources, and allowed for mutual knowledge exchange,” adds Bhatia. Youth were able to build capacity and learn research skills, and researchers benefited from young people’s insights into their projects and processes.
This Health xChange would not have been possible without the amazing youth advisory group who helped to develop this year’s theme and for adjudicating the presentation submissions. Health Research BC looks forward to building on this success into next year’s Health xChange.