About us News How virtual reality could help save young lives An innovative partnership with UQ could help save young lives in our community. We are proud to launch the all new Youth First Aid program - teaching lifesaving skills through the new technology of virtual reality. The aim of the project, developed in partnership with the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School Hervey Bay (and funded by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation), is to equip young people with the knowledge to deal with relevant first aid situations they could face. The VR program takes young people through four immersive scenarios, simulating them or their peers experiencing alcohol poisoning, the effects of drug use, violence and other risk-taking behaviours. Rowena Allen, Youth Mentoring Coordinator for the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, said tailoring the program to young people could save lives. "The feedback from young people is they don't just want to know about basic first aid - they want to know how to deal with situations they might find themselves in where they don't always know what to do," Rowena said. "If they happen to find themselves in certain dangerous situations or choose to engage in risky behaviours, we would much prefer they are prepared for the risks and consequences and that's what this project is all about." Rowena said the virtual reality delivery set the project apart from other similar courses. "The headsets make the program more accessible and sustainable as it can be rolled out well beyond the Fraser Coast," she said. "It's also a way of making what can be quite confronting content more engaging and even fun." HBNC CEO Tanya Stevenson, UQ Rural Clinical School Hervey Bay Director Dr Rudi Prasad and Youth Mentoring Coordinator Rowena Allen try out the new Youth First Aid simulation. The Youth First Aid project was originally presented at our Community Ideas Pitch Night, held in February. It has since evolved to incorporate the virtual reality component, thanks to the involvement of UQ's innovative and future-thinking team. "Thank you to UQ student doctors, Justin Ayres and Jayden Barker, as well as Rural Clinical School director, Dr Rudi Prasad and Chris Camilleri from UQ IT for helping get this idea off the ground," Rowena said. The virtual reality delivery will be launched at an upcoming session at The Neighbourhood Hive. Details to be advised.