What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing!

(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)

Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why
August 29, 2016
Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | August 29, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

Do you work with adolescents? Have you ever faced situations like these?

Sofia is an excellent student, popular on campus and a delightful member of your peer health educator program. She knows everything about birth control, STI prevention and making smart choices. She loves educating her peers. She and her boyfriend come to see you one afternoon and tell you they are pregnant.

* * *

Ethan’s parents are shocked and baffled when their 16-year-old son, along with several of his friends, is arrested for underage drinking. One of the kids, highly inebriated, was driving the group around in his dad’s car. “Ethan is such a quiet boy,” they tell the police. “He’s never gotten into any kind of trouble.”

* * *

Milo is engaging, thoughtful, self-observant and easy-going—as long as he’s in a one-on-one situation with an adult. But as soon as he’s with his peers, he can’t stop acting out. He makes jokes, creates disruptions and sometimes teases classmates rather cruelly.

We all know that teens sometimes behave in these ways. But why? New developments in neuroscience actually give us some answers on this—and suggest several promising remedies.

Webinar: Survive or Thrive? Re-Envisioning Adolescent Success

We recently collaborated with the California School Based Health Alliance on a webinar describing and applying the new insights in developmental neuroscience. Our goal is to re-think and re-envision how we educate, raise and care for young people on their path to lifelong health and wellbeing. You can find links to the webinar recording and slides ("Survive or Thrive? Using Neuroscience to Re-Envision Adolescent Success") and information about other upcoming CSBHA webinars here.

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Tags: Neurodevelopment, Neuroscience, Teens, Risk reduction
Memory and Learning: A Formula for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Impact!
July 18, 2016
Memory and Learning: A Formula for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Impact!

By ETR | July 18, 2016
Note: We're posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference, July 19-20.

Learned anything new lately? Your brain is being bombarded by massive amounts of information every minute—sights, sounds, words, smells, sensations. What happens to all of that info? Thankfully, most of it is forgotten. Your brain takes a look at it and decides what to ignore and when to pay attention.

If you’re an implementer working with teens to build healthy skills for pregnancy prevention, you’ve got critical messages and skills you want these learners to attend to. What should you do? Use amazing brain science to make learning stick!

Debra Christopher, MSM and Tracy Wright, MAED. Memory and Learning: A Formula for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Impact! Wednesday 7/20/16, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Poster #107 in the Program Delivery & Improvement Section, East Foyer of the Key Ballroom.
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Tags: Learning, Memory, Neuroscience, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, OAH TPP
New Research: Keys to Understanding Adolescent Romantic Relationships
May 9, 2016
New Research: Keys to Understanding Adolescent Romantic Relationships

By Thao Ha, PhD | May 9, 2016
Assistant Research Professor, Arizona State University

Know any teens who’ve fallen in love lately? Chances are that you do. Most teenagers have been in love or have been involved in a serious romantic relationship by age 18 (Carver, Joyner & Udry). While teens often do not share their romantic experiences with adults, those of us working with adolescents—educators, health providers, researchers, community workers—need the best understanding possible of young people’s romantic relationships. Specific points before, during and after a relationship can create vulnerabilities in adolescents’ lives.

Romantic relationships offer teens wonderful opportunities to pursue some positive developmental tasks. But when things go wrong in a teen’s relationship, there is a potential to trigger a range of problems. These moments may also offer adults an entry into adolescents’ world at a time when our support can be invaluable. 

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Tags: Romantic relationships, Adolescents, Mental health, Risk reduction
Kirby Summit Takes Off!
February 25, 2016
Kirby Summit Takes Off!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | February 25, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

ETR’s inaugural Kirby Summit has started. While it’s not entirely clear what’s going to come out of this two-day event, I am certain it’s going to be powerful and different.

The Summit honors Doug Kirby, one of the greatest researchers the field of sexual and reproductive health has ever seen. Doug was also a senior research scientist here at ETR before his untimely death in 2012, and a colleague and true friend to many of us.

Doug had an insatiable curiosity and a love of civil debate. He’d certainly approve of this Summit! 

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Tags: Neuroscience, Sexual and reproductive health
"What Were You Thinking?" - What Developmental Neuroscience Tells Us About Adolescent Sexual Behavior
November 19, 2014
"What Were You Thinking?" - What Developmental Neuroscience Tells Us About Adolescent Sexual Behavior

By Ahna Suleiman, DrPH | November 19, 2014

Every sex educator I know has stories about young people who’ve challenged their faith in our ability to change adolescent sexual behavior. For me, one of those stories is about a ninth grader named Rose.

Rose was a formidable advocate for school-based sex education. She was also a catalyst in moving an incredibly resistant district to change their policies and allow condom distribution on campus.

Like many ninth graders I’ve met, Rose was intelligent, thoughtful and articulate. She liked school and was a successful student. She had goals of becoming a nurse or doctor. She also faced a number of challenges at home, where things were not always stable. 

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Tags: Teens, Neuroscience, Sexual and reproductive health