CYAHD’s areas of interest are aligned with key national priorities
Local, state, and federal agencies all have a stake in understanding the health and well-being of young adults. While much attention has been focused on ways to improve the delivery of public education in the U.S., CYAHD is committed to understanding what health and psychosocial problems might interfere with the ability of young people to fully avail themselves of the learning opportunities available to them, and then translate the skills they acquired in secondary school and college into successful careers and other adult roles. There is a strong desire to identify what earlier factors in adolescence predict health, safety, and well-being during young adulthood. To that end, CYAHD conducts research on health risk behaviors and mental health issues that can interfere with successful development and translates this research to guide the development of intervention strategies.
The Center began as an outgrowth of one of the largest NIH-funded longitudinal studies of young adults, the College Life Study (CLS), which began in 2003. The Center has grown in its capacity to provide the following:
- Operational expertise in data collection, management, and analysis: Center personnel have the expertise to collect data using state-of-the art online technology as well as administer computer-assisted personal interviews and assessments. The Center has experience with developing and refining effective strategies for recruiting, tracking, and maintaining participants in longitudinal studies, and has received national attention for pioneering cutting-edge methodologies that result in excellent participant response rates. Additionally the Center has the capacity to manage and analyze data using both simple and more sophisticated statistical techniques, including complex multivariate modeling.
- Program evaluation: CYAHD has led several evaluations of various types of community-based programs, involving the examination of both process outcomes and longer-term impact and effectiveness. Currently, CYAHD is leading an evaluation of an adolescent addiction treatment center in Canada and an evaluation of a parent support network.
- Report writing: CYAHD has produced numerous scientific articles, white papers, research briefs, fact sheets, and technical reports. We often present our work to a variety of audiences, including parents, educational professionals, policy makers, clinicians, and scientists, and emphasize the importance of translating scientific evidence into relevant, practical recommendations for policy and practice.
- Technical assistance and training: We regularly provide technical assistance and organize trainings. Most recently, we have been involved with several colleges in Maryland to assist them in implementing evidence-based best practices to reduce college alcohol use and related problems.
- Building community partnerships: The Center's inter-disciplinary team collaborates with dozens of other senior-level faculty from across the country, and is continuing to strengthen collaborations with faculty in the areas of family science, adolescent development, nutrition, and community health within the School of Public Health. CYAHD is committed to strengthening ties with community leaders to optimize the practical impact and scientific relevance of Center activities.
With these existing resources, the Center is well-positioned to expand its operations-in terms of both data collection, analyses and translation of existing data-and secure additional funding to pursue new projects as well as design training opportunities for new investigators.