Adelante Ambassadors: Using Digital Media to Facilitate Community Engagement and Risk-Prevention for Latino Youth


  • Nicole Barrett The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Ricardo Villalba Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers
  • Elizabeth Andrade The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Allison Beltran The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • W. Douglas Evans The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health



youth, adolescents, positive youth development, Latinos, immigrants, Hispanics, user-generated content, social media, prevention


Digital and social media are now widely used to promote engagement in health programs and improve health behaviors across a variety of age groups and domains. However, limited research exists on applying culturally relevant, new media interventions specific to Latino immigrant youth. This paper describes the pilot Adelante Youth Ambassador program for Latino immigrant youth, which used digital media and community-based participatory research to build positive youth development (PYD) assets as a prevention mechanism to reduce co-occurring health risks of substance use, sexual risk, and interpersonal violence. We worked collaboratively with adolescents to create video content as a conduit for Adelante-branded messages to be disseminated on the program’s social media platforms. Using an active audience engagement methodology, youth participants informed the development of prevention messages, scripts for the videos, and acted in videos. Participants disseminated content to their social media networks and engaged peers in dialogue about topics addressed in the videos. Using pre and post tests, we evaluated changes in PYD assets (Civic Action Competence, Confidence, Connection to Community, and Connection to Peers) and skills related to digital media use, communication, and advocacy. The program used innovative branding and social media strategies to engage Latino youth in health risk prevention.

Author Biographies

Nicole Barrett, The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Nicole Barrett, MPH, is research staff at the Avance Center for the Advancement of Immigrant/Refugee Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC (ndbarrett@gwRicardo

Ricardo Villalba, Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers

Ricardo Villalba is the Substance Abuse Case Manager for the Adelante program at the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers in Langley Park, MD (

Elizabeth Andrade, The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Dr. Elizabeth Andrade, DrPH, MPH, is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at The George Washington University and Avance Center’s Director of the Administrative Core in Washington, DC (

Allison Beltran, The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Allison Beltran, MPH(c), is a Masters student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC (

W. Douglas Evans, The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Dr. W. Douglas Evans, PhD, is a Professor of Prevention and Community Health & Global Health at The George Washington University. He is also the co-PI and Director of the Avance Center’s Community Engagement and Outreach Core in Washington, DC (


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