Call for Submissions: AT-CURA Youth Strengths Conference, July 23-25, 2014

Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Metro Vancouver, BC, hosts SSHRC funded CURA project conference on July 23-25, 2014.

AT-CURA Youth Strengths Conference posterSubmissions due: February 28, 2014

What topics would be considered?

Here are some examples of topics that would be appropriate for the conference:

  • Youth resilience
  • Community engagement for violence prevention
  • Using youth strengths to help at-risk youth
  • Gang-prevention programs and initiatives
  • Youth character strengths and well-being
  • Youth violence reduction
  • Youth delinquency prevention
  • Programs for building youth strengths
  • Relevant pedagogy / education / curriculum
  • Relevant popular media research and implications

What other criteria are important?

In keeping with the conference goals, special consideration will be given to submissions that do any of the following:

  • illustrate collaboration between academics and community with a goal of promoting youth strengths to prevent violence and criminal activities such as gang involvement,
  • illustrate how evidence-based research may be used to develop programs and influence policy-making to promote youth strengths to prevent violence and criminal activities including gang involvement, or
  • report on evidence-based research about the relationship between youth strengths and gang/violence prevention.

Who should submit?

We encourage submissions from researchers, policy makers, service providers, police agencies, graduate students, youth, parents, and teachers.

What types of submissions will you accept?

Most accepted submissions will take place in 50 minute sessions or in a special poster session.  The following types of submissions are encouraged:

  1. Interactive workshop: Interactive workshops will involve extensive audience interaction and training in particular skills.
  2. Themed collaboration (symposium): A themed collaboration will involve a number of presenters who will be recruited and coordinated by you. Your session should allow some time for Q & A or other interaction with conference participants.
  3. Panel session: A panel session will involve a moderator and number of experts (panelists) who will be recruited and coordinated by you. The moderator will ask panelists to respond to questions on a particular theme. Conference participants should be encouraged to pose questions as well and to engage in dialogue with the panelists.
  4. Facilitated conversation: A facilitated conversation is similar to a panel session, but will involve less focus on the experts and a stronger role for the moderator in facilitating two way interaction between the panelists and conference participants.
  5. Individual talk: Individual talks will be 10-15 minutes long. They will be grouped with other talks on similar themes.
  6. Poster: Posters will be featured in a special conference session during which authors will be present to discuss their posters with conference participants. Posters should be designed to fit into a 4’ x 4’ space.

What is the deadline?

The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2014.  We will notify successful applicants by March 15, 2014.

How do I submit my proposal?

Your submission should include:

  • A title
  • A biography (100 words) of yourself and biographies of other presenters/authors, if any
  • An abstract (description of 150-300 words) of your session. You may also include abstracts for other presenters/authors in your session.

Use our online submission form to submit your proposal.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the submission process, please email atcura2014@kpu.ca or call  Catherine Parlee at 1+ (604) 599-3163.

Visit the AT-CURA Youth Strengths Conference website for more details about this event.

Using Your WITS: KMb in Action at UVic / Le programme « WITS » : la Mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) en action à l’Université de Victoria

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently announced a $2.6 million grant supporting children’s mental health through a program designed by University of Victoria psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, which teaches children conflict resolution strategies.

L’Agence de la santé publique du Canada a récemment annoncé une subvention de 2,6 millions de dollars pour la santé mentale des enfants par le biais d’un programme (WITS) développé par une psychologue de l’Université de Victoria : Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater. Elle enseigne aux enfants les stratégies de résolution de conflits.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced a $2.6 million grant supporting children’s mental health through research about and improved online access to the WITS program. WITS teaches children four simple conflict resolution strategies—Walk away – Ignore – Talk it out – Seek help—and was developed by UVic psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater.

The four-year grant will support online resources, lesson plans, training modules and resource guides for teachers across Canada. The funds will also go to further research in determining the effectiveness of the prevention program. Since 1998, the WITS programs have taught schools, families and communities four simple strategies that children can use to respond to peer victimization.

“We are very pleased to receive this funding,” says Leadbeater. “We want to ensure that schools and communities across Canada can access the WITS program to help prevent peer victimization, which also improves children’s mental health.”

The funding, announced by Federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, is part of a funding package for innovative, community-based projects to improve the mental health of Canadian children and families, with a focus on vulnerable populations.

For more information on WITS, please visit: www.witsprogram.ca

Mobilizing Minds Community Partnership Forum

What happens when community groups learn about young adult engagement and about research and knowledge mobilization? Mobilizing Minds: pathways to young adult mental health engaged community partners to bring community agencies and advocates into the Mobilizing Minds project and inform them about engaging youth in their own organizations. Young adults need a voice in mental health agencies. Community partners need a voice in research.


Mobilizing Minds is a $1.5M CIHR/MHCC funded knowledge mobilization grant that pairs young adults with adult researchers and seeks to develop knowledge tools and products that are derived from academic research but presented in the right format, at the right time, to the right people to inform decisions about mental health. Tara Syed (young adult leader) and Jenn McPhee (project coordinator) along with their community partner Mind Your Mind hosted 21 people from 16 community agencies in a conversation about youth engagement and getting involved in KMb for mental health. The half day event was held at York University on October 27, 2010.

You can see a mash up of all the Mobilizing Minds Community partner logos and photos from the event are posted here.

Before you do anything check out the overview video produced by a few of Mobilizing Minds young adult leaders…and make sure you stick around to see Mark Leonhart’s bloopers (after his expert use of the word “mobilize”). The video provides a great overview of the project from the perspective of young adults.

After Jenn and Tara described the project and the community members got a brief overview of KMb by David Phipps. The group also heard a keynote by David Kelly, Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs and Member of the Minister’s Advisory Group for Mental Health and Addictions. The group then got down to work. They discussed how the goals of the project intersect with a number of other projects and initiatives underway.

The group got a lot of information and were charged with staying in touch on Mobilizing Minds O3 site about two things:

  1. how each organization might be able to be involved as channels for dissemination of the knowledge products to be developed by Mobilizing Minds and
  2. how each organization can include young adults in their programming and planning.

Tara Syed (Young Adult Leader, Mobilizing Minds) echoed these goals. “I am glad we’re getting our project out there and that we’re one step closer to disseminating our resources in the right way to the right people. I am excited to meet the young adults who will join our team from the community partners and engaging more youth!”

York University’s KMb Unit and ResearchImpact were pleased to be there at the beginning. Mobilizing Minds can trace it’s history back to the very first KM in AM in November 2006 when Henny Westra (York University, Department of Psychology) met Mary Lynne Porto (Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region). It was through those discussions that the desire to find a pathway to young adults mental health was formed. We have blogged about Mobilizing Minds previously on February 5 and 24, 2010 and June 8, 2009 and we are pleased to see Mobilizing Minds grow into a project that is now engaging community organizations to get information to young adults.

Madalyn Marcus (PhD student, Clinical Psychology, York University) said, “This community partnership forum is directly related to my research. It is vital in moving forward with dissemination of these findings to get feedback from those in attendance today”.

Commmunity partners have tons of knowledge and experience; their value to university research and KMb projects is huge. Christine Garinger (Mind Your Mind) summed up this contribution and the energy of the group. “What wisdom we bring! What energy we bring! We don’t want to duplicate or waste time. We want to move forward in action. Awesome!


Congratualtions to Jenn, Tara and Mind Your Mind for a great partnership event.

Youth Engagement Using the Arts- KM in the PM

The YorkU KMb Unit will be hosting a KM of the PM event on Wednesday, December 8. The topic of the afternoon will focus on youth engagement using the arts, with brief presentations by researchers and community leaders, followed by ample time for questions, discussion, and networking.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Sarah Flicker, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
  • Jane Wedlock, Executive Director, York Region Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Katherine Boydell, Senior Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children

Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time: 1:30 to 4:00

Location: York University, Keele Campus, York Lanes Room 280N (#24 on the York Campus Map)

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP kejensen@yorku.ca to confirm your attendance.

Relevant projects are welcome to contact the KMb Unit for exhibitor space opportunities.  Space is limited

Youth Diabetes Sports Camp – Mobilizing Knowledge for Exercise and Diabetes

The fourth annual York University Youth Diabetes Sports Camp has come to an end. Yet there remains plenty to celebrate. York’s KMb Unit was proud to witness the successful conclusion to a unique knowledge mobilization initiative. Being there every step of the way during the two weeks of the Diabetes Sports Camp, we experienced a valuable partnership in action that was unique in its composition. This partnership was between the youth participants at the camp who were engaged in their sport of interest (tennis, basketball, soccer or track and field) and the research team that was focused on learning more about glucose regulation during exercise and the prevention of hypoglycemia. This partnership flourished and provided everyone involved with plenty of fun, learning experiences, and invaluable data for research on type 1 diabetes metabolism.

During last year’s camp, Dr. Michael Riddell conducted a study that examined the relationship between blood glucose levels and sports performance for youth ages 6-17. These youth had their blood glucose levels monitored in real time using new technology supplied by Medtronic Canada for the week as they engaged in soccer, basketball, or tennis, and even as they slept. The goal was to see how sports performance is affected by oscillations in blood sugar levels. The study, which was published this year in the International Journal of Pediatrics, found that optimal athletic performance was observed when blood glucose levels were in the normal range. A slight deterioration in performance was observed when blood sugar levels were a little bit above the normal range. However, the study found that there was considerable deterioration in performance when blood glucose levels were lower than the normal range (4-7 mmol); this is a condition called hypoglycemia.

This year Dr. Riddell and his team are advancing this area of research by collecting data using real time glucose monitoring on a newly developed carbohydrate intake algorithm that prevents hypoglycemia during exercise. With this research, they hope to optimize nutritional strategies for the prevention of low blood sugar in young active individuals with type 1 diabetes.

This research is the first of its kind to be tested outside of the laboratory in a field setting. However, what may be equally important is the process of knowledge exchange that the Diabetes Sports Camp has facilitated. Besides the fun and excitement that the young campers got throughout the duration of the camp, they were also taught various strategies to help manage their diabetes and encouraged to share their experiences with other campers who have diabetes. In return, Dr. Riddell received important data for his research that he plans to share in an upcoming symposium at the International Society for         Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD), taking place from October 27 – 30, 2010 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is classic KMb, bi-directional flow of knowledge that can help inform health policy, foster emerging research questions, as well as inform individual practices in safe blood sugar regulation in young patients with type 1 diabetes. This is KMb that is practical and benefits all parties involved.

Stay tuned for the KMb in Action story on the Youth Diabetes Camp which can be found on the ResearchImpact website.

Week 2 of the Youth Diabetes Camp – Overall Youth Experience

By the end of the second week of the Youth Diabetes Sports Camp, the kids have made new friendships and greatly improved their skills in sports. York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit interviewed kids with diabetes about some of their impressions and experiences at camp.

The children with Type 1 greatly appreciate the opportunities that they are given at this camp. Overwhelmingly, the kids admire the unique nature of the camp, the first sports camp of its kind that brings together kids and adolescents with diabetes with diabetes councilors and varsity level coaches. Most importantly, they get to meet other kids with diabetes and share their challenges as well as their experience managing their condition. Many of the kids said that prior to attending this camp they had not met very many young people with their condition who are so interested in sports. At this camp, there were approximately 30 kids and adolescents with diabetes, there were counselors who have diabetes, as well as guest speakers who excel despite their disease.

Among the guest speakers at the diabetes camp was Chris Jarvis, a prominent Olympic rower and Pan Am gold medalist with type 1. Chris talked about the “highs” and “lows” while being on the Canadian National rowing team and competing in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Prior to joining the kids to play their respective sports, Mr. Jarvis spoke to the young campers about living with diabetes and overcoming numerous challenges including challenges with his glucose control and facing losses in competition. Chris spoke about the importance of “team” support in helping to facilitate his success both on and off the boat. Overall, the kids found their camp experience to be inspiring. The goal was to show that having diabetes should not hinder anyone from pursuing a career in competitive sports. And that is something that the kids certainly understood and appreciated by the end of camp.

Of course, there is also the fun factor. The kids were happy to share excitement and laughter while becoming more proficient in their favorite sport. The children were very fond of the camp counselors. They were happy to get excellent instruction from some of York’s finest varsity athletes. However, counselors were more than just the kids’ coaches. They made sure to befriend them as well and did a great job connecting on the kids’ level, making their camp experience that much more enjoyable.

The most amazing thing about this camp is the fact that, while the youth with diabetes had an overwhelmingly positive experience, they also contributed to valuable research on how sports and exercise affect glucose control and how exercise can help manage diabetes and improve quality of life. This is a prime example of knowledge mobilization and a bi-directional flow of knowledge. The kids learned new strategies on managing their diabetes while Dr. Riddell gets valuable data for his research on exercise and diabetes.

Week One of Youth Diabetes Camp – Interview with Dr. Michael Riddell

The first week of the Youth Type 1 Diabetes Sports Camp, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit interviewed Prof. Michael Riddell, asking him about some of his reasons and motivations for starting this camp. We also began to learn more about what the camp is all about.

Dr. Riddell was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 14 and continued to be a very active adolescent engaging in various sports, including basketball, tennis and mountain biking throughout the time of his diagnosis. Although at the time of the diagnosis, there was limited research on the effects of sports on diabetes. Dr. Riddell eventually went on to get his PhD, specializing in energy metabolism during exercise in children and adolescents. In the ensuing years he decided to focus his research on how exercise affects blood glucose levels in persons with type 1 diabetes. 3 years ago Dr Riddell noticed that although adults with diabetes had the opportunity to go to a newly established sports camp in the U.S., none were in place for children. This set in motion the start of the Diabetes Sports Camp at York University, a unique camp in that it is the first of its kind.

Now children aged 8-16 with diabetes have the opportunity to engage in a sport of their choosing where they will receive excellent coaching from varsity athletes as well as guidance on how to best manage their condition. This camp is now run in conjunction with the York University Sports and Recreation summer camps offered to all youth between the ages of 8-16 years. Not only are children with diabetes able to develop their athletic skills in a monitored environment, but they are able to share stories and strategies with other children who have diabetes.

Dr. Riddell has been running this camp for 3 years with the aim to further his research in the field of sports, active living and their effects on diabetes. Last year’s camp was the basis for a study that has been published in the International Journal of Pediatrics last week. This research examined the relationship between blood glucose levels and sports performance in youth with Type 1. This year’s camp also has a research component focusing on the development of new strategies to prevent low blood sugar levels. Kids are mobilizing knowledge by having fun and by contributing to the study. This is what KMb is all about!

Week One of Youth Diabetes Camp – Active Living with Diabetes

Monday, July 19 was the launch of the 3rd Annual Type 1 Diabetes Youth Sports Camp at York University. Dr. Michael Riddell started the Diabetes Camp in 2007 for active children and adolescents, ages 8-16, with type 1 diabetes and the numbers have grown from just 10 kids in 2007 to about 30 this year. The Diabetes Hope Foundation, Tracey Rubinoff Diabetes Hope Fund, and Medtronic Canada are all helping to support this initiative with York University’s Department of Sports and Recreation.

The purpose of this camp is to give the opportunity to diabetic kids to excel in their favorite sport, along with non diabetic kids of similar age and sporting skill levels, as well as to help manage their condition through active living. This is done through an on-site clinical care team of nurses, physiologists and athletic therapists who work along side the exceptional coaching staff and varsity athletes. The kids with diabetes are encouraged to discuss their diabetes care with the on-site team and help is provided from athletes with diabetes who serve as diabetes councilors to assist with blood glucose monitoring and by sharing some of their own strategies on modifications to insulin and or carbohydrate intake. The kids have the opportunity to get together and share stories about active living with their diabetes. The sports offered this year include a focus on either basketball, track and field, soccer, or tennis and a free swim is offered every day from 2-3 in the varsity pool.

The first day of filming the camp for an upcoming KMb in Action story, the children had an opportunity to get acquainted with the sport of their choosing as well as with one another. The next day there was plenty of chatter and laughter as well as enthusiasm and eagerness to excel in their respective sports. The kids get coached at university level by varsity athletes and special guests who also have diabetes. This perfect mix of excellent instruction in sports as well as instruction on management of diabetes informed by cutting edge research creates a really fun atmosphere for the children and makes for a great learning experience. Last year’s study looked at blood glucose levels and sports performance which is published now online at the International Journal of Pediatrics. This year’s study is using a special carbohydrate intake algorithm devised by Dr. Riddell and his research team (Jill Milliken and Dylan Kelly) to help prevent low blood sugar. For the remainder of the two weeks of the Diabetes Camp, the children’s blood glucose levels will be monitored in real time throughout the day, using the Medtronic GuardianRT, as they engage in various sports. Dr. Riddell hopes that the camp and experience of the children participating will help inform his research on diabetes and its impact on sports performance.

This is a great example of knowledge mobilization and turning research into action. Stay tuned for more highlights in the coming weeks.

Teen Pregnancy and Teen Mothers: Meeting the Needs in York Region

In the summer of 2009, as part of the initial grant for York’s KMb pilot project and as part of a competitive, adjudicated process, the KMb Unit created Social Innovation Collaboration Grants to address research issues with relevant public policy and/or professional practice implications in the areas of Mental Health, as this was an identified priority area by community partners. Here is a summary of one of these projects:

Drs. Jennifer Connolly, Hala Tamim and Yvonne Bohr, affiliated with the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution (York) partnered with Kinark Child and Family Services and York Region Children’s Aid Society for a short-term knowledge mobilization project around new mothers in York Region; examining the prevalence of these vulnerable girls in York Region, how their Mental Health needs are being met, what service gaps could be identified and determining how research on risk and resilience can inform clinical care and maximize positive outcomes.

The research team employed graduate students to support their efforts and focused on the following activity:

• Determine the prevalence of pregnant and mothering teens in York Region
• Survey on available services to pregnant and mothering teens
• Review of girls receiving protective service intervention from York Region CAS within this user population
• Synthesize published literature on risks and resiliencies of pregnant and mothering teens
• Begin framing research to explore factors related to risk and resiliency for these young women and their children
• Initiate community-based opportunities for feedback and knowledge exchange with interested members of the community

The team is excited about what they were able to accomplish and they are continuing to work in collaboration through a successful CIHR KT Supplement grant, which will build on their collaborative capacity by using social media and technology-based research collaboration tools, including the O3 platform, to further their research and KMb agendas. The partnership development between the three agencies, as well as a large cohort of youth was also a very positive outcome which the team has identified, supporting the sustainability of their efforts.

Hear Jennifer Connolly (York), Sandra Cunning (Kinark Child and Family Services) and Bonita Majonis (York Region Children’s Aid Society) talk about the project at the 2010 KMb Expo:

Mobilizing Minds meets Mind your Mind

Apart from each having a cat, Jenn McPhee (Program Coordinator, Mobilizing Minds) and I have nothing in common. Discovering all the things two people have in common in 60 seconds was the first exercise at the annual Face to Face meeting of Mobilizing Minds, the $1.5M CIHR funded knowledge translation grant exploring pathways to young adult mental health.

You previously met Jenn and read about Mobilizing Minds on this blog. This past weekend (February 20-21, 2010) was the second time the adult researchers and young adult leaders had a chance to get together face to face. The project’s primary goals are to:

  1. Find what information young adults, their friends and family want about help for common mental health problems
  2. Find the information they have requested – very challenging (knowledge synthesis)
  3. Put the answers to their questions into clear language (core information)
  4. Format information in a variety of formats to meet the needs of different young adults and different media
  5. Evaluate the core information and the formatted information
  6. Disseminate the information developed on a wide scale

However, another goal that permeates all activities is to explore the dynamics of young adult/adult partnerships. Young adults are involved in all activities of the project including in leadership positions throughout the project. That’s where Mind your Mind (MYM) comes in. MYM is a London, ON community based organization providing services (many of them interactive web based) for young adults exploring mental health support services. MYM recently joined the MM team as the young adult coordinators but they also bring with them tools and expertise to facilitate knowledge mobilization of mental health research to a young adult audience.

At the end of the weekend the group had worked through some of the relationship challenges experienced by a research project spread across 5 universities and 3 provinces. We rediscovered our commitment to the project and made plans for year 2. And we tweeted (@mobilizingminds). Frequently. While the tweets aren’t minutes of the meeting you can get an idea of what happened throughout the 2 days. Because MM is a KM project and KM is inherently change focused the participants were asked to write about how their involvement with MM has changed them over the last year – in 140 characters or less. Here are their tweets:

I have become inspired and feel more informed!

I have had to reorganize Mondays. I have enjoyed discourse with interesting colleagues. I know some more about communicating.

More aware of partnership complexity and how much we don’t know about mental health.

I am more busy and feel the work is meaningful.

I have discovered the importance of research and have gained a sincere interest in young adult mental health.

The project has increased my awareness of the tremendous importance of KE. Managing tasks in health can translate to KE. Amazing perspective.

I have learned more about myself as a person, my strengths and weaknesses. I have a better idea of areas I can improve and ways I can get there.

Feel more involved in something revolutionary and exciting.

I have developed a commitment to working in a knowledge translation framework.

I became part of an experienced-based team who are visionaries in involving communities of young adults in mental health.

The take away message from the meeting: no amount of Go To meetings, teleconferences, twitter or skype can replace face to face contact. In a Web 2.0 world, technology can only enhance, it can’t replace, the human touch.