The mission of the Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center (UMN PRC) is to collaborate with health departments, related agencies and community partners to develop and disseminate actionable knowledge and practices that promote healthy development and health equity among all young people.
Our specific aims, reflected in our unit-specific work plans, include the use of interdisciplinary research, training, community education, TA, capacity-building, strategic communications, and evaluations to build health, competence, and capacity throughout the second decade of life and beyond, and to build capacity in partners working with and on behalf of young people. Our long-term objectives focus on expansion of scientific knowledge and increased use of evidence-based public health programs that advances the national health agenda as reflected in Healthy People 2020's adolescent-focused goals (5 of 7 priority areas), promotes health equity as articulated in the National Prevention Strategy, and addresses CDC adolescent-related Winnable Battles (i.e., reproductive health). The UMN PRC core project, Partnering for Healthy Student Outcomes (PHSO) is a comparative study of the relative effectiveness of a school-based, social-emotional learning (SEL) prevention program for students attending culturally diverse, economically disadvantaged middle schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN metro area. Our primary research question is: Will a multi-year, school-based prevention program, infused with professional development (PD) aimed at increasing the capacity of middle school teacher teams to engage their students in learning, yield changes in middle school students'health risk behaviors and academic outcomes that exceed outcomes from a school-based student-focused prevention program alone? The research has two primary aims: Primary Aim 1: Conduct a pilot study to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a school-based, SEL+PD program (Positive Action plus teacher-team professional development and support) designed to reduce health risk behaviors (violence, bullying, substance use, sexual risk behaviors) and increase academic achievement among middle school students;and Primary Aim 2: Implement a SEL plus teacher-team professional development program and evaluate its effectiveness on student outcomes compared to a SEL program alone. We will evaluate the two conditions in a matched pairs, randomized trial involving approximately 840 students in 4 urban middle level schools across 3 school years.
I. INFRASTRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION (Index of acronyms in Appendices Table of Contents) A. Mission, Goals and Priorities. Minnesota is a prime arena for addressing social inequities in health. Rapidly changing demographic composition has contributed new strengths as well as challenges to our health, education, and social service systems. MN leads in East African, Latino and SE Asian immigration; Minneapolis has the second largest urban American Indian population in the US. Our communities of color are relatively young in terms of percentage of families with children, and particularly in Minneapolis and St. Paul, health disparities are intermingled with economic distress and social segregation. The stark reality confronting our communities and our systems of care is the deepening need for partnerships that meld community experience with scholarship and public health (PH) practice-based knowledge. We believe, in the words of the Lancet International Advisory Group on Adolescent Health, that ...failure to invest in the second decade of life, despite the availability of proven and promising prevention and health promotion strategies, will jeopardize earlier investments in health, substantially erode the quality and length of human life, and escalate human suffering, inequity, and social instability.1 The University of Minnesota Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center (UMN PRC) is dedicated to nurturing partnerships that will co-create the fusion of knowing and doing through its core mission: through collaboration with health departments, related agencies &community partnerships, develop and disseminate actionable knowledge and practices that promote healthy development &health equity among all young people, and, in so doing, advance adolescent-focused Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) goals, elements of the National Prevention Strategy, and CDC Winnable Battles, particularly reproductive health. B. Organizational Structure and Linkages. Initially funded by the CDC in 1996 as the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research Center, UMN PRC is embedded in an institutional context highly conducive to achieving its core mission, goals and objectives, and leveraging complementary resources that expands its reach and impact. As in Org Charts (App D), UMN PRC is part of an Academic Health Center (AHC) that includes the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and the UMN's CTSA. UMN PRC faculty/staff are appointed in these AHC schools along with the College of Education &Human Development. The AHC is under the direct authority of the UMN President, whose community engagement activities are conducted under the auspices of the Office of Public Engagement to which UMN PRC members play an ongoing advisory role. Likewise, the UMN CTSA partners with the PRC to strengthen its own inter-collegiate community engagement portfolio of applied public health research, training, outreach and advocacy. UMN PRC is located within the Division of General Pediatrics &Adolescent Health (DOGPAH), with its 35- year history and expertise in adolescent health research and translation, training, TA, community partnerships, strategic communications, and dissemination of evidence to promote effective programs, policy and public health practice. At its inception, UMN PRC capitalized on this experience through immediate formation of a Community Advisory Network, and involvement of community partners, health departments and related agencies in the crafting of our earliest core research focused on preventing teen pregnancy and sexual risk behaviors (Prime Time). This early research evolved into school and clinic-based interventions that engaged community members, educators and PH professionals in youth-development strategies to prevent teen pregnancy, violence involvement, and school dropout. Our earliest intra- and inter-collegiate linkages with the Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health (and its State Adolescent Health Resource Center that provides TA and consultation to the natio