On November 20th & 21st, 2015, Dalhousie’s Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) Institute and the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre co-hosted a symposium on emergent trends in research with vulnerable young people. Participants attended a range of workshops highlighting new ideas on doing research with this population. An academic “Dragon’s Den” gave graduate students the chance to present their research ideas and proposals to a panel of senior researchers who offered feedback and valuable advice for going forward as emerging scholars.

You can learn more below about the workshops that were offered. Videos and other resources from the event will be posted soon.


Workshop Block 1:

Dr. Deborah Stienstra & Dr. Sophie Jacques– Building and Sustaining Respectful Research Partnerships

  • Partnership research is an emerging key area for funders.  The workshop provided tips, principles and strategies for developing and sustaining mutual beneficial partnerships with community organizations, governments and industries.

Julianne Acker-Verney and Susan Manning – Facilitating Inclusion and Access for Diverse Populations in Research and Beyond

  • This interactive workshop was designed to model and educate emerging scholars on inclusive and accessible practices in research design, event planning, and beyond. Susan and Julianne drew on their individual and combined areas of expertise to present information, tools and tips to support the inclusion and participation of diverse populations in research and events. Workshop participants were encouraged to bring research ideas or projects currently in development for a practical exercise during the workshop.

Dr. Christine Chambers – Using Social Media for #ChildHealthResearch

  • Dr. Chambers is a leading international expert on children’s pain who has been using social media as a way to reach parents and advocate for improved child health. The overall goal of this workshop was to familiarize participants with the advancement of technology in the area of social media and reflect on how these tools can be adopted into their own research and/or to promote best practices. The workshop provided an overview of how social media can be used to reach patients, parents, scientists, clinicians, the media, and the public at large about children’s health issues. Various types of social media (e.g., online blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) were described, and participants were led in a “Tweetorial”. Dr. Chambers summarized her prior and ongoing work over social media about children’s pain, including the #ItDoesntHaveToHurt social media initiative, a partnership with Erica Ehm’s (funded by CIHR), launched on Sept 21st, 2015. The recent launch resulted in the #ItDoesntHaveToHurt hashtag being the #3 trending topic in Canada over social media the evening of the launch, with the tweets reaching over 6 million people world-wide.

Workshop Block 2:

Dr. Michael Ungar – Researching Resiliency

  • Resilience research involving children, youth and families looks at the health-enhancing capacities, individual, family and community resources, and developmental pathways of vulnerable children and youth, who against all odds, manage not only to survive unhealthy environments, but thrive. The Resilience Research Centre supports both quantitative and qualitative research, with an emphasis on mixed methods designs that favour understanding resilience as a culturally and contextually embedded construct.

Dr. Sherry Stewart – Mediation Analysis: Methods and Research Applications to Studying Mechanisms Underlying Post – Traumatic Vulnerability to Alcohol Misuse 

  • This workshop took a skills-development approach to mediation analysis by presenting an overview of the steps required to test mediation models as well as an introduction to the methods available to do so. Using an example of one specific application of mediation analysis, Dr. Stewart illustrated the principals involved in mediation analysis and demonstrated the utility of mediation in examining the intervening role of stress (post-traumatic stress disorder; PTSD), anxiety, and mood (depressive) symptoms in explaining links between trauma exposure and alcohol misuse in different populations of youth in challenging contexts.

Dr. Sara Kirk – Food for Thought: Youth Perspectives on Food Insecurity

  • In this workshop, Dr. Kirk shared recent research and youth engagement activities in Nova Scotia on the topic of food insecurity and health. The session focused on solution-oriented approaches to health promotion that ensure youth voices are heard.

Lisa Lachance – Knowledge Mobilization

  • Building on the experience of the CYCC Network, this workshop looked at innovative methods of knowledge mobilization particularly when targeted at community members and community based service providers.