Education will be an important aspect in the development of the YPAG. To address the objectives of the group, education must be thorough, relevant, and ongoing. Curriculums built around evidence-based medicine or epidemiology that are aimed at adolescents exist.
Some available resources include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed EXCITE (Excellence in Curriculum Integrating through Teaching Epidemiology), a collection of teaching and educational resources to promote public health and epidemiology for youths from kindergarten to 12th grade; Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) a series of epidemiology teaching units for high school teachers and their students. Its modules are based on disciplines such as math, statistics, biology, environmental science, and social science.
It can be argued that a strong understanding of the conduct of a clinical trial, bias in research, and informed consent processes is required and will need to be instilled among YPAG members as these facets of clinical research will be the source of informed ideas and impactful advices for the youth. As young advisors are more able to empathize with fellow pediatric peers, they are able to provide unique perspectives on eligibility criteria, administration of interventions, reduction of risk and burden of participation in the study, and relevant outcomes selection and measurement. They may also uncover underlying biases in a study design overlooked by researchers and offer advice on how they can be addressed. Teaching the YPAG about informed consent, assent, and dissent during clinical trials may help trialists become aware of nuanced and complex elements that influence a child’s informed consent process. Teaching other disciplines of clinical research such as statistics, data analysis, and confounding/effect modification may be unnecessary.
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