The Evergreen Guys Research Project: Getting guys through the health clinic’s door
VANCOUVER, BC – In health care, as in love, when it comes to young men, first impressions matter.
That’s something a team of researchers from Vancouver Coastal Health’s Evergreen Community Health Centre learned when they studied how to better meet the health needs of young men in Metro Vancouver.
The team’s research findings are documented in the Evergreen Guys Research Project: Improving Young Men’s Health Care. The study reveals valuable insights about how health services can better serve young men in the community.
“Male youth emphasized to us that their first impression really mattered and it was important to build a relationship of trust and ease with them from the first time they enter the clinic,” said Derek Roelofsen, co-investigator on the study and a public health nurse with Vancouver Coastal Health.
Over the years, Evergreen Youth Clinic and other youth clinics across Vancouver noticed that the vast majority of youth using the services were female. This was troubling for clinicians because for every female that tests positive for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), there could also be a male who tests positive. Additionally, young men also experience higher risk of suicide and injury which makes counselling services an important part of youth clinic services.
These concerns led Roelofsen, Paramita Banerjee and Kristina Pikksalu – all public health nurses on the Child and Youth Team at Evergreen Community Health Centre -- to team up with researchers from the University of British Columbia. The goal: To tackle the question of why young men don’t take advantage of the many health services offered at youth clinics.
“The need to reach out to men of all ages and to educate them on their health risks is a critically important mandate of the Men’s Health Initiative of BC,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, director of the Men’s Health Initiative of BC, urologist and surgeon at VGH, and head, Department of Urologic Sciences, UBC. “We are keen and excited to partner with the Evergreen Guys Research Project and to provide whatever support we can to contribute to its success.”
The study, funded by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, saw nurses partner with neighbourhood-based youth organizations to involve young men and women in focus groups, street surveys and individual interviews.
The results have already prompted a number of service and practice changes at Evergreen Youth Clinic to benefit male youth who visit the clinic. The recommendations are currently being shared with other youth clinics across the Lower Mainland, and will serve as a stepping stone for further research and improvements in service.
VCH operates eight youth clinics within Vancouver. They offer a variety of free health services to youth under the age of 25 including STI testing, counselling services, and education about and provision of birth control options.
The Evergreen Guys Research Project: Improving Young Men’s Health Care will be launched on Wednesday, April 7, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Collingwood Neighborhood House (5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver). Everyone is invited to hear the results and recommendations from the research. Food and refreshments as well as information on youth clinic services will be provided.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $2.9 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities, including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
The VCH Research Institute, the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health and health partner of UBC Faculty of Medicine, is one of Canada’s top funded health sciences research centres, with $101.6 million in total research funding for 2008/2009.
Read the full report here: The Evergreen Guys Research Project: Improving Young Men's Health Care