Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Youth Summit Tackles Critical Issues in Collaboration with NH Teens

Youth Summit 2019 logo
A one-of-a-kind, innovative “Youth Summit” that examines student-selected topics and focusing on student voices.

They want to help answer the questions. We owe it to them to listen.

Joanne M. Conroy MD, CEO and President

New Hampshire’s high school-aged students will be driving the content and facilitating the discussions with their peers and experts at an innovative “Youth Summit” that examines student-selected topics and focusing on student voices. The Summit will be hosted by Dartmouth-Hitchcock April 5-6 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

Approximately 350 students from around the state are expected to participate in Day One of the summit, which will focus on the challenges teenagers face, develop solutions to those challenges, and celebrate their successes. Day Two is open to the public and registration by parents, educators, legislators, and anyone interested in the pressures faced by youth today are encouraged to attend.

Headliners for the summit include World Cup champion and Olympic gold medal-winning skier Hannah Kearney; actor, producer and director Jim Wahlberg; social media innovator Wendy Sue Swanson MD; and Ford Racing driver, coach and instructor Mike Speck.

“Our children are growing up in an increasingly complex world,” says Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health CEO and President Joanne M. Conroy, MD. “It’s gratifying and encouraging that so many of New Hampshire’s teens have committed to finding ways to navigate those complexities, and I’m really looking forward to their discussions of many important issues. They want to help answer the questions. We owe it to them to listen.”

The Friday, April 5 program “Knowledge, Empowerment, Understanding” includes a formal welcome by NH Gov. Chris Sununu, Conroy, and emcee Wahlberg, followed by three blocks of three different discussion groups. The first block will focus on mental health, including issues of addiction, eating disorders, and self-harm, depression, and suicide. The second block will examine issues of diversity and respect, including gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and bullying. The third block will look at timely topics including school violence, pressure for success, and a “road trip” presentation on distracted driving presented by Ford Motor Co. Fund. Each group will have a student facilitator, supported by an adult subject-matter expert. Following all three discussion blocks, the students will gather for lunch and discussion of the morning sessions.

Kearney, a native of nearby Norwich, VT, who graduated from Hanover High School before going on to Olympic glory, will give a keynote speech following lunch. A three-time World Cup champion in moguls skiing, Kearney competed in three Olympic Winter Games, winning the gold medal in moguls in 2010 and a bronze in 2014. Following her competitive career, Kearney enrolled at Dartmouth College.

The afternoon session will feature a presentation, “Social Media for Good,” by Dr. Swanson. A self-described “tweetiatrician,” Swanson is working toward a new age in medicine, in which innovations in digital and social media leverage the combined wisdom of clinicians, patients, and researchers to help them collaborate more closely and build stronger relationships. She is the founder and Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she Tweets as @SeattleMamaDoc

Day One wraps up with the “Magnify Voices” Film and Writing Festival, featuring short films and creative writing pieces about mental health issues submitted by middle and high school from throughout the state. The goal of the Festival is to advocate for, inform about, and destigmatize mental health issues. Winners in five submission categories will receive cash prizes and will attend the ceremony. New Hampshire First Lady Valerie Sununu will introduce the festival and welcome entrants, beginning at 3 p.m.

On Day Two, Saturday, April 6, the focus turns to adults with “They’re Talking: Are We Listening?” The half-day event will mirror the structure of Day One, with selected students who attended Friday’s panels facilitating the sessions alongside content expert. Perspectives shared by students on Day One will be incorporated into the program.

Following the student report out sessions, an academic panel “Community Engaged Research: A Collaborative Approach to Addressing Community Challenges” will be led by Aurora Drew, PhD, lecturer at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, and Maureen Boardman, MSN, Clinical Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. The presentation by Drew and Boardman will focus on community based research in this age group.

Dr. Swanson will reprise her Friday social media presentation as the lunch keynote speaker on Saturday, followed by a session wrap up.

The idea for the Youth Summit grew out of the work of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Senior Director of Public Affairs John Broderick. Broderick has been visiting middle and high schools around northern New England for the past three years, sharing the story of his family’s experience with mental illness and talking with teens about their own challenges, on a campaign to “change the conversation” about the disease.

“Having spoken to thousands of young people and heard many stories of suffering, it’s time we hear these kids and respond to their needs,” says Broderick. “What I’m seeing and hearing now has been hiding in plain sight for generations. It’s time for that to change, and progress, I know, is possible.”

Youth Summit 2019 is supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund, Cigna, Northeast Delta Dental, the Hypertherm Hope Foundation, Fidelity Investments, Grappone Auto Group, NEA-NH, the NH Charitable Foundation, NH College & University Council, NH Community Behavioral Health Association, NHPBS, NAMI NH, New Futures, NH School Board Association, Riverbend Community Mental Health, and the Seacoast Mental Health Center.

For registration information and a full schedule of events, visit https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/classes_events/youth-summit.html.

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock

DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK HEALTH (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across Northern New England. D-H provides access to more than 2,400 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named in 2019 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 13 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-H system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.