About MYHealth

Students As Co-Researchers, A New Model for Training and Engaging Youth

What is MYHealth?

The Michigan Youth Health (MYHealth) program is a research training program for high school students. Through MYHealth, we hope to increase persistence in research careers, specifically among groups that are underrepresented in science, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

MYHealth recruits high school students from Southeast Michigan with help from our community partners. Then, students are engaged in the interactive MYHealth research training program. Throughout the program, students work with seasoned researchers to apply what they have learned by designing, implementing, and sharing findings from their own research project. High school students are trained through the same methods used to train career scientists.

Youth are engaged throughout the process to design and improve the MYHealth curriculum, select research topics in line with their interests, and share what they have learned with peers, stakeholders, and their communities. MYHealth participants are taught to conduct research with people, not on people.

Why High School Students?

Existing programs have worked to reduce inequities in STEM careers at the undergraduate or graduate level. However, very little attention has been placed upon high school students. Adolescence (or the teen years) is a unique time period when a desire and intent to pursue science and research careers develops. A community-based participatory research approach that engages youth as co-researchers has the potential to improve interest and persistence in STEM.

Students Master Research in Three Phases

Throughout the MYHealth program, students are asked to complete surveys, reflections, and interviews. The MYHealth study team use this data to evaluate the impact of the MYHealth program on participants’ feelings and attitudes towards research and STEM. Also, the MYHealth team uses findings to make ongoing improvements to the program curriculum and structure. The MYHealth team relies on input from youth and brings expertise in community engagement, participatory research, mixed methods research.

MYHealth includes a series of studies approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board (HUM00201567, HUM00210274, HUM00213914). In addition, MYHealth is a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Institutes of Health (R25GM137361).

Interested in Participating in MYHealth?

Applications for the 2023-2024 MYHealth program are now closed as of May 15, 2023. We are unable to accept additional students at this time. Please check back in Spring 2024 when applications are open again.