Amplifying Children’s Voices to Improve Health Care for Children and Youth
Those who study children’s health have rarely included children’s voices in the research process. In the past, research was more often performed “on” children as opposed to “with” them. This approach has led to gaps in our understanding of child health.
To address this, Dr. Roberta Woodgate is actively engaging children and their families in health research. As Canada Research Chair in Child and Family Engagement in Health Research and Healthcare, she seeks to advance the ways in which children and families participate in health research, focusing on how best to involve vulnerable children (and their families) who have a range of conditions. She believes that to improve children’s health, researchers must fully understand the experiences and needs of vulnerable children and their families and share them with health care professionals and other key stakeholders.
Woodgate and her research team embrace a human rights-based approach that recognizes children have the right to be involved as much as possible in the decisions that affect them. By incorporating diverse and innovative arts-based data collection strategies, Woodgate and her team are providing children and their families a myriad of ways to express themselves.
Woodgate’s research will improve our understanding of children’s illness experiences and shed light on how best to engage children in research. Ultimately, this will improve health outcomes for children in Canada by ensuring the best available evidence is in the hands of those who deliver and influence children’s health.