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#hcsmca Special Edition Wrap-up: Youth Health Navigation

April 4, 2011

Andrea Yip (@andrealyip) shares her summary of #hcsmca’s special edition chat about youth health navigation.

Thanks to everyone for joining @colleen_young and the @Youth4Health team on March 24th for an engaging and lively tweet chat around youth health navigation! We were thrilled to hear that there was budding interest from the #hcsmca community for this type of dialogue and were happy to have the opportunity to share our experiences, ideas, and learnings from the project with tweeps new to the project, good friends, and #y4h supporters.

The concept of health navigation is something that our team has been exploring over the past year with @Youth4Health staff and youth health navigators (YHNs). Opening up this discussion with #hcsmca was a great way to shed more light on what this really means, in theory but also in practice. The cohesion and interest in the very definition of “health navigation” proved to be an insightful discussion, reinforcing the model Youth4Health has developed – Identify, Sensitize and Connect – and conversations we have had around establishing YHN boundaries. As @Colin_Hung noted, the goal of a YHN “is to guide not to diagnose” which is why Youth4Health took the following approach according to @cdnorman:

The chat also engaged the community in a discussion around the use of social media and technologies for health navigation. While it seems that the best strategy is to go to where young people are already, in terms of online platforms and networks, @nomnomzzzz brought up a great point, noting that the online communications and interactions amongst health navigators, staff, partner and supporters were complemented by in-person training and support. As a lesson in meaningfully engaging youth in health navigation around issues like mental health, food security, or cancer survivorship, she also brings up a great point:

We were also excited to hear conversation around taking health navigation to the next step by thinking about ways to institutionalize health navigators within health organizations and services. There were a lot of great suggestions like creating volunteer positions or internships around navigation. It’s clear that navigation can play an invaluable role in the health system in Canada and in order to optimize the role of YHNs, we need to find ways to fully integrate navigators into formal and informal health experiences and processes.

To wrap things up, I want to say a special thanks on behalf of the Youth4Health team to @colleen_young for hosting a special edition of #hcsmca and welcoming us into the #hcsmca community! As @abiequayson best put it:

I also want to give a special shout out to a few Youth4Health team members who joined the conversation in case you wanted to follow:

A copy of the #hcsmca chat transcript on health navigation can be found here: http://bit.ly/hBo9lc

Thanks & see you on Twitter!

Andrea Yip, @andrealyip, Youth4Health Social Media Coordinator

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