Aleta L. Meyer is Senior Social Science Research Analyst, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Meyer’s work focuses on the translation of theory and empirical research across multiple health outcomes into effective and feasible prevention programs for communities. At Administration for Children and Families (ACF) this includes the translation of research on early adversity to ACF programs, community-based-participatory-research to evaluate early childhood programs within American Indian/Alaska Native communities, and positive youth development.
Originally published on The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health (UD/MH) blog, here.[Jenny Roe, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Design and Health, School of Architecture, University of Virginia. Her recent talk, at our sponsored lecture series, can be found here.]
Access to parks and urban green space facilitates exposure to nature, exercise and social opportunities that have positive impacts on both physical and mental health. In the last decade, rates of migration have risen dramatically across the globe: by 2038, it’s expected that half of London’s residents will be of a black and minority ethnic origin (BME). Our cities, towns and communities are becoming increasingly multicultural and, yet there are inequalities. A recent report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission showed that in the UK, ethnic minorities are experiencing worse health outcomes. This is particularly the case for mental health: in 2012, the proportion of adults in England who were at risk of poor mental health was found to be higher among Pakistani/Bangladeshi and African/Caribbean/Black respondents than White respondents, and there were inequalities in accessing healthcare.
Hence, it is increasingly important that research reflects the diverse make-up of these populations. A new study has sought to better understand the differences in use and perception of urban green space among BME groups in the UK, and illustrated the need for park facilitators to accommodate the needs, attitudes and interests of our multicultural population.
Ellen Markowitz is a social entrepreneur who uses sports to help youth become their “super selves.” She studied Sport Psychology and Positive Youth Development through sport at the Curry School of Education. She founded SuperStarters Sports which offers sports-based youth development programs and consulting. Markowitz received a BA from Yale University, an MBA from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, in 2010.
Playing sports as a young girl, changed my life. When I was in high school, being part of a team helped me feel good about myself, and gave me tools to connect with others. So it has been my passion to help other girls feel connected and competent through physical activity and sport.
SuperStarters Tennis & Teamwork Activity
In the ‘90’s, when I started working in the world of after school programs in New York City, there were no acronyms like “PYD” or “SBYD (sports-based youth development).” Practitioners and researchers understood that after school programs could provide many diverse opportunities — as safe spaces for youth to connect with peers and adults, as growth places for youth to explore new activities and identities, and as home bases where youth could learn skills and competencies that could open doors to unimagined futures.
Students with onions from the garden project – a University-school partnership.
Eleanor V. Wilson, Associate Professor in the Curry School of Education, has been a faculty advisor for three “Wellness and Gardening” projects, all a part of a University-elementary school partnership which she says is having a cumulative impact on the community. Charlottesville’s Burnley Moran Elementary school and university students co-lead the work and “it is an example of not only school-university cooperation,” says Wilson, “but as examples of ways to incorporate principles of healthy living as a part of Positive Youth Development at the elementary school level.” Following is her summary of the projects.
For the past three years, U.Va. students have participated in projects initiated by a Charlottesville non-profit organization and then, a Community Based Undergraduate Grant, (funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of Virginia) and followed by two Jefferson Public Citizens grants have collaborated to enrich the Charlottesville City Schools “City Schoolyard Garden Project.” Initiated in 2009, the City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) was a non-profit venture dedicated to cultivating academic achievement, health, environmental stewardship and community engagement through garden-based, experiential learning. A pilot garden program was founded at Buford Middle School and in 2011 the partnership was extended to all city elementary schools. Once this project was underway, University students became involved as partners in expanding the goal of creating healthy living habits for elementary school students. View video: “Wellness and Gardening.” Continue reading →
The following is a summary of the presentation by Russell Pate, Ph.D., by Jeanette Garcia, graduate student in the Curry School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, under the direction of Art Weltman, Ph.D., conference chair. Video also available here.
Russell Pate, Ph.D., is Professor and Director, Children’s Physical Activity Research Group, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. He is also the current president of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. His research interests include physical activity and physical fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity.
There is evidence that the following strategies are effective:
Multi-component school interventions
Physical education in school
There is evidence that the following strategies are emerging or suggestive:
Activity breaks in school
Pre-school and childcare settings
Community and built environment
The following strategies have insufficient evidence at this time:
School physical environment and after-school
Camps, youth organizations, and other programs in the community
The YN Blog will feature the research and experiences of five U.Va. undergraduates working in the University of Virginia Health System’s Virginia Driving Safety Laboratory.
Student contributors, Melissa Avalos, Annie Friedell, Emily Meissel, Glenda Ngo and Julia Thrash work with Ann Lambert and Youth-Nex Associate Director, Daniel Cox.
About the Virginia Driving Safety Laboratory:In order to improve the safety on our roadways, the lab conducts driving safety research and provides patients with the opportunity receive comprehensive assessments of their driving abilities.
It is widely acknowledged that driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. However, what many fail to realize is that distracted driving, or simultaneously making use of two of our most useful innovations, the cell phone and motor vehicle, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving, but in different ways, according to Strayer, Drews, and Crouch (2006). Continue reading →
Obese youth who do not show signs for Metabolic Syndrome are still at risk for several health conditions. A Type 2 diabetic diagnosis is just “the tip of the iceberg” with many health problems lying below the surface. There is a constellation of risk factors are already there. Continue reading →