VPSA-funded project aims to increase awareness of vaping resources for youth

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Vaping is becoming increasingly popular with youth. Healthcare workers are concerned as it can lead to nicotine addiction and other negative health effects. Healthcare and youth workers have other common concerns: the need to broadcast the same message and to have organized resources designed specifically for youth.

With funding from the Vancouver Physician Staff Association’s Engagement Accelerator, the VGH Smoking Cessation Clinic and Legacy Airway for Health were able to begin addressing these concerns. The goals of their project were to increase connections, collaboration, and awareness between partners at VCH and external groups that work on vaping care- and prevention-related activities targeted to youth in Vancouver as well as to increase awareness of supports available to youth.

“I realized from my clinical work with people who were using vaping devices that our services in Vancouver were somewhat fractured and not really talking to one another or aware of what other services were offering,” said Dr. Milan Khara, medical lead at the VGH Smoking Cessation Clinic. “My primary objective with this project was to try to map what was out there and get us together to collaborate and take a more comprehensive approach to this new and emerging problem.”

“We wanted to build connections between all the different people working on vaping prevention and support and try to facilitate youth access to resources… help them know what’s out there,” added Karen Rideout, who works as a knowledge transfer specialist for Legacy Airway for Health.

The project team worked with four youth to create two Youth Vaping Support Pathways infographics that depict available vaping services and information for youth in the Vancouver area. The infographics are available online.

They also hosted a virtual forum to convene 48 stakeholders representing several vaping and youth-related agencies. Participants learned about the variety of supports currently available and engaged in small group discussions to identify existing strengths, challenges, and opportunities to improve youth awareness of the support available.

“One of the big things that came out of the forum was an interest in collaborating more between the different service providers. There was a strong interest in working together more and sharing information,” added Karen. “People expressed a desire to have a community of practice or an ongoing network. If that can emerge out of this project, that would be a huge success that could have longer lasting benefits.”

“We’re extremely grateful to the VPSA for funding this project,” said Dr. Khara. “It couldn’t have happened without the funding and, for a relatively small dollar amount, we’ve learned a great deal and created a platform for something to emerge that will actually be an important part of the solution to what is likely to be an ongoing and growing problem.”

VPSA funding opportunities

Annual funding from the Specialist Services Committee allows VPSA to provide financial support to physician-led projects. Funded projects provide opportunities to build relationships and effective communication across the physician community. Projects address at least one of our priorities: physician wellness; physician engagement; and/or improvement of patient and provider’s experience of care.

Funding of up to $5,000 is available on an ongoing basis for eligible projects through Small Steps, Big Idea. Look for the next round of Engagement Accelerator funding of up to $20,000 for eligible projects in fall 2021.

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