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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Researcher discusses marijuana effects on youth development

<p>Mirsada Serdarevic (left), 24, and Shivani R. Khan, 28, both UF epidemiology PhD students, peruse an information table at UF HealthStreet during the Our Community, Our Health event Sept. 24, 2015. Khan picked up a flier for a 6-week dance program held by the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, which both girls said they will attend.</p>

Mirsada Serdarevic (left), 24, and Shivani R. Khan, 28, both UF epidemiology PhD students, peruse an information table at UF HealthStreet during the Our Community, Our Health event Sept. 24, 2015. Khan picked up a flier for a 6-week dance program held by the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, which both girls said they will attend.

A renowned researcher presented findings on the effects of marijuana on youth development to the UF community Thursday night.

In honor of National Recovery Month, prominent researcher Dr. Maureen Boyle presented to a crowd of 40 people various research findings of marijuana used among young people via live stream video.

UF is one of several schools that live streamed Boyle from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The livestream was part of the second national Our Community, Our Health event put on by HealthStreet, a community engagement program that bridges the gap between health research and community knowledge.

"What we’re doing with Our Community, Our Health is really holding a series of meetings where we can explain directly to the community what people find when they do research," HealthStreet founding director Linda Cottler said. "And we want to do it according to the things that are important to them."

Boyle focused on how marijuana use leads to detrimental side effects on a developing brain. Daily use as an adolescent increases likelihood of substance abuse, suicide attempts and use of welfare, Boyle said. There will be a 10-year longitudinal study on adolescent individuals to answer questions their current data does not reveal.

The event included dramatic storytelling from UF’s Arts in Medicine program. The stories showed the different stages of drug addiction to engage the audience through theater, said Erick Edwing, HealthStreet’s communications coordinator specialist. After Boyle’s presentation, text messages and Twitter were used to facilitate discussion while Boyle answered the questions live.

Due to HealthStreet’s connection with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Boyle shared her research without any compensation, HealthStreet project coordinator Vicki Piazza said.

"I learned stuff I didn’t know, so it was a good way to keep up with the literature," said Mirsada Serdarevic, a 24-year-old first-year doctoral student in epidemiology. "It was very interactive, and they didn’t make it as technical so they, ya know, catered to the greater audience."

Mirsada Serdarevic (left), 24, and Shivani R. Khan, 28, both UF epidemiology PhD students, peruse an information table at UF HealthStreet during the Our Community, Our Health event Sept. 24, 2015. Khan picked up a flier for a 6-week dance program held by the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, which both girls said they will attend.

Alana Jackson, a 24-year-old community health worker at UF HealthStreet, performs a monologue about the addictive mentality behind marijuana use at the Our Community, Our Health event Sept. 24, 2015. The event video streamed drug-related research and speeches across the country.

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