Keynote Speaker

Keynote Presentation

Thursday, April 18th 9:00 AM- 10:15 AM

Title: A Youth Centered Mixed Methods Approach to Reduce Structural Racism and Promote Health Equity for Youth of Color in Denver Metro, CO

Description : Substance misuse and sexual health disparities emerge and persist through mutually reinforcing social and structural systems of oppression. Adolescents of color are more likely to be situated in a web of adverse social and structural contexts when compared to their White peers. To reduce adverse behavioral health outcomes and promote healthy development among adolescents of color in Denver Metro, CO, a focus on improving the contexts in which they live, learn, play, and grow is essential. Equally important is engaging adolescents of color to tell their story, using data, of how social and structural contexts play a role in the health outcomes of their friends, family, and community. A youth engaged approach allows for a deeper understanding of the pernicious and complex social contexts and relations of power experienced by youth of color that likely influence health. This presentation outlines the work of Youth to Youth Empowerment (Y2YE), a youth engaged mixed methods study to identify and examine associations among social and structural contexts with substance misuse and sexual risk taking among youth of color in Denver Metro, CO. This presentation will discuss the process for engaging youth in all aspects of the study, including complex multilevel and spatial quantitative analysis, advanced qualitative methods, and quantitative and qualitative data integration. Findings of this study will be used to inform strategies that reduce structural and social inequities to promote positive behavioral health outcomes among youth of color in Denver Metro, CO. 


Dr. Nicole Tuitt

Nicole Tuitt, DrPH, MPH (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health Sciences (CBHS) and conducts her research out of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Tuitt received her DrPH from the ColoradoSPH in CBHS with a minor in Epidemiology. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Social and Spatial Epidemiology in the Prevention Science Research Training Program at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Her research focuses on prevention of substance misuse, suicide, and sexual risk taking among urban Black and urban and reservation-based American Indian and Alaska Native youth. Dr. Tuitt is a Principal Investigator of a youth of color centered research project, Youth-To-Youth Empowerment (Y2YE), to promote positive behavioral health outcomes among youth of color in Denver Metro, CO.

Alexander Weiden

Alexander Weiden is a high school junior at STEM School Highlands Ranch and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He has long been dedicated to serving the needs of his people and is interested in the applications of biology and public health to better health infrastructure and care for Natives both on and off reservations. As a youth researcher with Y2YE, he has been able to leverage his interest in this field to investigate health outcomes for youth of color and create tangible change. Aside from this project, Sasha is the outreach/fundraising lead for his school’s BEST Robotics team and was a summer intern at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. In his free time, he is a competitive Rubik’s Cube speed solver and enjoys playing volleyball.

The Y2YE research team consists of six high school youth, including Arionna Hall (Senior, East High School), Yazira Martinez-Dominguez (Senior, Montebello High School), Anniah Hill (Junior, Northfield High School), Oluwafemi Samuels (Senior, Northfield High School, Alexander Weiden (Junior, STEM School Highlands Ranch) and Jhaden Seawood (Senior, DSST Conservatory Green). 


Instagram: @y2yempowerment