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Youth consult on research and media projects

ACT Youth Network

Sara Birnel Henderson and Michele Luc with Youth Network consultants

The ACT for Youth Center of Excellence sponsors a network for young people who are interested in making change and supporting the health and well‐being of youth in New York State. At its heart is the ACT Youth Network NYC, a panel of young adult and teen consultants who meet monthly to provide youth perspectives on health‐related projects for researchers and organizations. Meetings are held at the offices of Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC and are led by Center of Excellence staff Sara Birnel Henderson and Michele Luc.

The ACT Youth Network is available for consultation on health projects that seek to reach youth. Past consulting work has included piloting workshops, surveys, and focus groups, reviewing media campaigns, and giving feedback on written content such as brochures and websites. Topics have ranged from all aspects of health to social causes to community gardening. The ACT Youth Network NYC has consulted for: Weill Cornell Medical College’s Clinical and Translational Science Center; New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Women, Infant, and Adolescent Health; New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault; New York State Youth Development Team; New York University Lutheran; Love Heals; and Opening Pathways: Youth in Latin America, among others. Individual researchers have also benefited from Youth Network consultations.

The ACT for Youth Center of Excellence was launched in 2000 with generous support from the New York State Department of Health. Housed in the BCTR, the Center of Excellence partnership also includes Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC, Ulster BOCES, and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

To find out more about the Youth Network, or to schedule a consultation, contact a Youth Network coordinator:

Find the ACT Youth Network brochure here.

Examples of ACT Youth Network Consulting Projects:

  • Immigrant youth survey
  • Youth clinic survey
  • Sexual orientation curriculum
  • Youth development and health website
  • Sexual health media campaigns
  • Lifelong health focus group pilot
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder messaging for youth






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ACT for Youth conducts focus groups on family planning services

This June under the direction of Jane Powers, ACT for Youth staff are conducting focus groups across New York State to better understand young people's views about, and access to, family planning services. This research is sponsored by the New York State Department of Health as part of its ongoing effort to incorporate youth voice into sexual health initiatives. Between 2005-2009, there was a decrease in the number of youth under 18 using services at Title X family planning clinics. The reasons for this decline are unclear; focus groups provide a mechanism for tapping into the perspectives of young people on the issue. The focus groups are expected to reach 200 adolescents (age 14-17) and young adults (age 18-21) across ethnically diverse groups both upstate and downstate. Special outreach will be made to LGBT and immigrant youth. Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention grantees throughout the state are contributing to the effort. Key BCTR staff members on the project include Chris Batman-Mize, Sara Birnel, Jennifer Parise, Amanda Purington, and Heather Wynkoop.