Objectives: To report on a participatory research process in southwest Alaska focusing on youth involvement as a means to facilitate health promotion. We propose youth-guided community-based participatory research (CBPR) as way to involve young people in health promotion and prevention strategizing as part of translational science practice at the community-level.
Study design: We utilized a CBPR approach that allowed youth to contribute at all stages.
Methods: Implementation of the CBPR approach involved the advancement of three key strategies including: (a) the local steering committee made up of youth, tribal leaders, and elders, (b) youth-researcher partnerships, and (c) youth action-groups to translate findings.
Results: The addition of a local youth-action and translation group to the CBPR process in the southwest Alaska site represents an innovative strategy for disseminating findings to youth from a research project that focuses on youth resilience and wellbeing. This strategy drew from two community-based action activities: (a) being useful by helping elders and (b) being proud of our village.
Conclusions: In our study, youth informed the research process at every stage, but most significantly youth guided the translation and application of the research findings at the community level. Findings from the research project were translated by youth into serviceable action in the community where they live. The research created an experience for youth to spend time engaged in activities that, from their perspectives, are important and contribute to their wellbeing and healthy living. Youth-guided CBPR meant involving youth in the process of not only understanding the research process but living through it as well.