Engaging Youth and Young Adults in the COVID-19 Pandemic Response via the “It’s Our Turn” Crowdsourcing Contest

Linnea A. Evans, Omar Gomez, Dulce J. Jiménez, Heather J. Williamson, Ann Turnlund Carver, Sairam Parthasarathy, Samantha Sabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continued to progress into 2021, appeals were made to take a stronger focus on the perceptions and practices of youth and young adults (YYAs) regarding COVID-19 mitigation, as well as the impact of mitigation strategies on the overall wellbeing of YYAs. In this paper, we describe our efforts to increase YYA engagement in Arizona’s COVID-19 response by pairing embedded values from youth participatory action research (YPAR) with a crowdsourcing challenge contest design. The research protocol and implementation are described, followed by a thematic analysis of YYA-led messaging portrayed in 23 contest submissions and reflections formed by 223 community voters after viewing contest submissions. The authors conclude that a YYA-led crowdsourcing contest presented an opportunity to (a.) investigate the perceptions and behaviors of YYAs and their networks regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts and (b.) amplify the voices of YYAs in the pandemic response. Perhaps even more importantly, this approach also offered insight into the exacerbated impact of the pandemic on YYA mental health and wellbeing, and the utility of YPAR in raising awareness of these effects among the contexts and social networks of YYAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5112
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • COVID-19
  • adolescents and young adult health
  • art
  • crowdsourcing
  • health equity
  • mental health
  • youth engagement in research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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