WH&Y authors: Betty Nguyen & Maia Giordano

This year was a challenging one for young people. Despite COVID-19 lockdowns, online learning, working from home and widespread unemployment, the WH&Y Commission continued to connect, collaborate and inform policies, research and practices that affect their health and wellbeing.

In 2021, 27 diverse young people, aged 14 to 23, with lived experience and a passion for creating better health services came together to advocate, consult and co-create advocacy, research and recommendations for better policy and services at a national, state and local level.

Key achievements of the WH&Y Commission in 2021 are included below.

Advancing Research

  • Releasing the WH&Y Commission’s first co-authored report, 2021 Youth health, research and policy priorities and concerns. 
  • Engaging in seven sub-projects including working with NSW Health and Youth Action to create TikTok videos on COVID-19 information.
  • Discussing how research ethics guidelines can better empower young people in health research – especially those under the age of 18  – with Professor Angus Dawson and Dr Neha Faruqui.
  • Collaborating with Dr Teresa Swist using participatory and future scenarios methods to generate future health scenarios and a digital health typology to support health systems 


Building capacity

  • Ten workshops, including three youth-led sessions.
  • Connecting and getting to know other like-minded individuals who are just as passionate about social change.
  • Conducting youth-led training and presentations on intersectionality, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, diverse gender and sexuality, and urban planning and its impact on youth wellbeing and health.


Advising and co-creating



  • Getting the ear of politicians (including the NSW Shadow Minister for Youth), Chief Health Officers and people of influence to listen and act upon the WH&Y Commission’s health, research and policy priorities.
  • Advocating for co-creating and using youth-friendly communications regarding COVID-19 
  • Presenting at the International Association for Adolescent Health 2021 World Congress, on the Commissioners' social media strategy and approach to researchers and young professionals worldwide.
  • Presenting on the importance of youth engagement in adolescent health and sharing the Commission’s priorities at the Consumer Health Forum of Australia’s Youth Health Forum Lightning Talks.


The WH&Y Commission is a champion of change and equity in our current health system. More than ever, young people need greater support with their health and wellbeing, in online and offline spaces, to adapt and overcome the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

The WH&Y Commission has achieved great feats in 2021. We invite everyone in the health and wellbeing space to work with the WH&Y Commissioners to meaningfully engage and co-create a new era of health and wellbeing research and practice for young people in Australia.

About The Authors


Betty Nguyen

Betty Nguyen graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Art...


Maia Giordano

Maia Giordano is the Executive Officer of the Australian Association for Adolescent Health (AAAH). S...