The overarching goal of this study is to address key adolescent health issues (substance use, emotional well-being, developmental assets) and critical social determinants of health (academic engagement and achievement) for all students, but 9th grade youth of Latino, Hmong, Somali and other African heritage in particular, through a focus on student-school connectedness and the school environment. The school environment, including student-teacher relationships and opportunities for meaningful student participation, establishes student connectedness, leading to multiple health-protective outcomes. However youth of color often express less connection to school. Health Promoting Schools' interventions may improve connectedness by addressing 3 components: 1) classroom wellbeing topics/approaches, 2) school environment or ethos, 3) links with families and/or communities. We will build on a NIMHD (R24MD00766-01)-funded pilot that developed and evaluated Project TRUST (Training for Resiliency in Urban Students and Teachers), an intervention to support teachers in improving relationships with, and promoting PYD for Somali, Latino, and Hmong 9th grade youth. Core partners Somali, Latino and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness (SoLaHmo), University of Minnesota Program in Health Disparities Research and College of Education and Human Development along with teachers, parents, and youth co-developed and piloted the intervention. Findings suggest that Project TRUST is feasible and acceptable to educators and may improve youth educational engagement, emotional well-being, and developmental assets across race/ethnic groups. Findings identified the need for broader improvements in the school environment and involvement with parents to substantively improve connectedness. In the current proposal we will expand our CBPR Coalition to co-direct refinement and implementation of a multi- component Health Promoting Schools intervention including: 1) pilot-tested teacher professional development, 2) student- defined enhanced environment, and 3) parent-defined enhanced community/family connection. The Coalition will finalize the intervention using a phased intervention map that integrates community perspectives with theoretical approaches to PYD and evidence based practices. The study aims will be accomplished through a group randomized trial in 10 urban schools with diverse populations representing approximately 1,900 students.
Study aims are:
Aim 1 : Assess the effects of a school-based multi-component intervention on improved school connectedness, school engagement, and developmental assets through a group randomized, participatory trial.
Aim 2 : Assess the effects of a health promoting schools multi-component intervention on emotional well-being, tobacco and other substance use, and academic outcomes through a group randomized, participatory trial.
Aim 3 : Evaluate the relationships between participatory factors (CBPR collaborative processes, capacities, and contextual factors), school intervention implementation, and study outcomes. The focus on school connectedness and environment as key proximal social determinants of health and promising intervention targets is innovative while the CBPR approach assures project success and sustainability.
The goal of our study is to use a community based participatory research approach to implement and evaluate a multi-component school-based intervention to enhance emotional well-being and academic achievement, and prevent tobacco and other substance use through the promotion of student-school connectedness for all students, but Latino, Hmong, Somali and other African heritage 9th grade youth in particular. We will build on a NIMHD -funded pilot that developed and evaluated Project TRUST (Training for Resiliency in Urban Students and Teachers), an intervention to support teachers in improving relationships with, and promoting positive youth development for Somali, Latino, and Hmong 9th grade youth. This project is important as it addresses school connected and engagement as key social determinants of health and addresses important protective factors contributing to youth resiliency.