What’s Next for YTH: A Power-Packed Year-End Retrospective

youth health technology innovations

It’s New Year’s resolutions time and our small but mighty YTH team is setting intentions and making plans. As we set goals for 2014, we’re mindful of the lessons we’ve learned through the past year’s brave (if we do say so ourselves) exploration and growth.

We believe young people are inventors and thought-partners whose leadership, imagination, and input are critical to addressing their own health and wellness needs. That’s why we are so focused on partnering with youth—and the adults who care about them!—to advance effective solutions.

In 2013, we “Powered Up,” laying the groundwork needed to make a significant impact on the next generation’s health and wellness. Here’s how:

  • Revitalized our work and mission with our new brand and website relaunch by placing our youth-driven values front and center. Since our spring rebrand, we’ve welcomed nearly 50,000 unique visitors to our website and engaged in more meaningful conversations on social media.
  • Met youth where they are with honest information about health and wellness by sending 150,000 text messages nationwide with #realtalk, reaching young people with critical resources that can help them improve their lives.
  • Embraced participatory health tech and modeled the intergenerational leadership we believe is essential for a healthier and more sustainable future. This year, Jamia Wilson joined YTH as our new executive director and teen inventor Jack Andraka spoke with YTH’s founder Deb Levine on an important panel on using mHealth to engage and empower youth.
  • Raised the visibility of youth health tech innovation locally, nationally, and globally through coverage in over 50 media channels, including Forbes, The New York Times Magazine, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CNN, The Journal of Adolescent HealthLatino MSN, NBC, and Yahoo! News.
  • Broke barriers and contributed new voices to the youth tech health discourse by partnering with vulnerable and underserved communities to deliver critical health care information. Garnering close to 1,000 signups in the first three months, we shaped our Unete Latina text messaging program by listening to and understanding the realities of Latina immigrant women in Fresno County.
  • Evaluated the impact of text reminders on HIV transmission through medication adherence reminders, HIV testing, and medication refill reminders, in partnership with Oregon Health Authority. With over 80,000 visitors to its website, 40 million online ad impressions, and 65,000 reminders sent in 2013, Oregon Reminders is a thriving program with deep potential for scale and replication.
  • Built the capacity of partners working in sexual health and reproductive justice across the country has enabled us to help engage, strengthen, and train practitioners to utilize tech and digital storytelling more effectively to further their mission. Through 4 webinars and 6 workshops, we reached 250 providers and 15 teen parents.
  • Showcased discoveries, ignited partnerships, and dived into new research by bringing together 500 health tech thinkers, doers, influencers, and explorers at YTH Live 2013. We helped these leaders and learners engage with cutting-edge technology and exchange knowledge across disciplines. We convened 84 sessions, 3 plenaries, and 1 exciting youth networking event.
  • Changed today for a healthier tomorrow through Today is for Tomorrow, a web, social media, and text campaign that gives California teens access to free clinic location information, inspiration, and weekly tips on school, life, friendships, relationships, fitness, and more.
  • Narrowed the opportunity divide in health tech by engaging, recognizing, and supporting underrepresented communities in tech creation, research, and leadership. YTH’s trailblazing founder Deb Levine was named one of Forty Women to Watch Over 40 by the 2013 World Technology Awards. We also selected and mentored ten youth innovators age 18 to 24, hailing from Florida to California, for our Youth Advisory Board.

For over a decade, we’ve been advancing solutions for young people’s health and wellness by pursuing emerging and accessible technologies. We’re grateful for all we gained in 2013, and look forward to partnering with YOU to create the change we want to see in health tech together.

What is your vision for the future of youth health tech? Come to the YTH Live conference in San Francisco from April 6-8 to share strategies, create solutions, and make lasting connections.

Creative Commons image by Steve Arnold.

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