Y2Connect is a web-based resource guide that "aims to connect Baltimore youth to clinical- and community-based health and non-health programs and resources to assist them in becoming successful adults." It was developed as a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatrics, Center for Community and Child Health Research, and Center for Adolescent Health, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC 1H25PS003796) and the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund. The project has been guided by a community advisory board of representatives from community organizations and institutions in Baltimore City, including the Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore City Public School System, Living Classrooms and the Department of Juvenile Services.
Several CFAR affiliates, including CFAR Scholar Awardee Kathleen Page and CFAR Adolescent & Young Adult SWG Co-Director Renata Arrington-Sanders, are involved in the collaboration. Below is a brief Q&A with Project Director Arik Marcell, Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatrics.
Q: What led you to focus on this population (youth) for this program?
A: Up till now, there has been no singular resource to help connect youth to a range of resources in Baltimore city. It’s the vision of Y2CONNECT to be the go-to resource guide to help connect Baltimore youth to youth-friendly resources throughout the city – from clinical to community-based programming – and educational information to help them achieve all of their life goals.
Q: What do you think is the most important message to communicate to youth living with HIV? For youth at risk for HIV?
A: You can accomplish anything you set out to and there are many people in Baltimore who are available to support you in any way you need.
Q: What has surprised you most over the course of your research?
A: How young men’s sexual and reproductive health needs are continuously not well-integrated into health systems that focus on maternal and child health or women’s reproductive health and how this continues to perpetuate barriers to care for this population.
Published results of Y2Connect project are available here and here.