The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought health inequalities into sharp focus and exposed the structural disadvantage experienced by people facing the greatest deprivation. Research studies such as Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) and TeenPath at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) are specifically documenting these inequalities in the lives of children and young people in Ireland pre-COVID-19. This proposal will integrate with the TeenPath study and its aims to centre young people in the development of public health policy targeting adolescent health, with a view to addressing longer term health inequalities revealed and potentially exacerbated by the pandemic. Despite their behaviours being subject to high levels of public scrutiny and social policing throughout the pandemic, young people have limited power to influence society’s response to it. Rapid studies have generated snapshots of the experiences of people living through the COVID-19 outbreak in Ireland, but largely overlook how young people’s routines and emotional wellbeing have adapted. This project will take participatory and social network approaches to investigate how adolescents in Ireland have experienced COVID-19, and will address intersectional dimensions including gender and ethnicity to examine disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on health inequalities. Working with the TeenPath project at RCSI in partnership with TCD, this interdisciplinary project will bring together Public Health, Anthropology and Sociology to deploy innovative approaches such as Photovoice and Social Network Analysis to centre young people in the co-development of public health policy. This co-designed, inter-sectoral and participatory project will contribute to understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 on young people and health inequalities in Europe through policy-focused research, while developing my interdisciplinary skills as an independent public health researcher.
Fields of science
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