What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


Global Determinants in Adolescent Childbearing: Powerful New Study on Social Determinants
November 15, 2016

Global Determinants in Adolescent Childbearing: Powerful New Study on Social Determinants

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 15, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

ETR is thrilled to see a new article, just released today. It is published by our close colleague, Dr. John Santelli, and his team at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. The Santelli team’s comprehensive work demonstrates that when we narrow income inequality and increase opportunities for education, we positively affect youth health and wellbeing. The study explicitly links increases in investment in education to declines in teen childbearing.

Santelli JS, Song X, Garbers S, Sharma V, Viner RM (2016). Global trends in adolescent fertility, 1990-2012, in relation to national wealth, income inequalities, and educational expenditures. Journal of Adolescent Health. In press. Published online (15 November 2016).

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Social determinants of health, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Global issues
Spreading the Message: Dual Contraceptive Method Use Among Teens
November 4, 2016

Spreading the Message: Dual Contraceptive Method Use Among Teens

By ETR | November 4, 2016

Two heads are better than one! It’s an old but familiar adage. We have an updated version we’d like to suggest: two contraceptives are better than one.

ETR researchers have just published an article in The Journal of Primary Prevention that examines the frequency of dual contraceptive use among youth in alternative schools. Information about this population is particularly important because they are more likely than other youth to engage in risky sexual behaviors. To date, there has been no research examining dual use contraception in this group.

Coyle, K.C., Peterson, A.J., Franks, H.M., Anderson, P.M., Glassman, J.R. (2016). Dual contraceptive method use among youth in alternative schools. The Journal of Primary Prevention 37(5). Published online October 31, 2016.

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Tags: Contraception, Dual use contraception, Alternative school youth, Sexual and reproductive health, Pregnancy prevention, STD prevention
Mentorship and Opportunity: How I Fell in Love with Research
September 29, 2016

Mentorship and Opportunity: How I Fell in Love with Research

By Elidia Moctezuma | September 29, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR

I love research! That’s not something I knew, or even imagined, when I started my college career. Thanks to the guidance of some outstanding teachers and mentors, I’m now ready to make research the focus of my career.

By Elidia Moctezuma
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Tags: Mentoring, Research
What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students
September 22, 2016

What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students

By Pamela Jakwerth Drake, PhD, & Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | September 22, 2016
Senior Research Scientist & Senior Editor, ETR

First published on the EdSurge blog on July 20, 2016.

Students hold a lot of useful information that you can use to find out all kinds of things. Assess school climate or student engagement. Identify teaching strategies kids like best. Measure health behaviors and attitudes. Learn more about student interests. If you can gather this information, it can help you make better decisions about students.

Do you want to find out whether students feel their teachers are doing a good job of teaching? Whether students feel safe at school? Would you like to know students’ level of engagement and sense of belonging at the school? Do you want to gain a better understanding of student health risk behaviors so you can focus your health education programming in an efficient way?

A survey may be your answer. 

By Pamela Jakwerth Drake, PhD
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Tags: Research, Surveys, Evaluation, K-12
Improving Early Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Identifying Risk Classes & Outcome Markers
September 20, 2016

Improving Early Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Identifying Risk Classes & Outcome Markers

By Jill Glassman, PhD | September 20, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

The field of teen pregnancy prevention (TPP) has experienced some impressive achievements over the past decades. By examining the evidence from evaluation studies, we’ve been able to identify programs showing effectiveness in reducing sexual risk taking among broadly defined populations of at-risk youth. ETR scientist Dr. Douglas Kirby was instrumental in developing and disseminating a list of effective characteristics for sexual health education programs, and in disseminating information about risk and protective factors that are key to our understanding of how these programs work.

The majority of these TPP programs originally were developed for high-school-age youth. More recently, however, there has been a shift to earlier pregnancy prevention efforts focusing on younger adolescents (10-14 year olds). Fewer of these youth are already engaging in the targeted sexual risk behaviors.

By Jill Glassman, PhD
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Tags: Research, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescents, Risk reduction
Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math
September 15, 2016

Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math

By Erica Marsh | September 15, 2016
Project Coordinator, ETR

Extra Innings is a new project which will be building a mobile video game to teach math and science. It’s a collaboration between ETR, dfusion and Science of Sport.

What’s new and different about it? We’re using a curriculum called Science of Baseball as the foundation, and we’ll be doing a formal evaluation of its efficacy.

By Erica Marsh
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Tags: Research, STEM, STEM education, Baseball, Mobile apps, math education
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.

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.

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Neurodevelopment, Neuroscience, Teens, Risk reduction
What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking
August 23, 2016

What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking

By Pamela Anderson, PhD, and Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | August 23, 2016    
Senior Research Associate and Senior Editor, ETR

First published on the Psychology Benefits Society blog of the American Psychological Association.

What comes to mind when you hear the words “sex trafficking”?

If you’re like a lot of people, you might think of a sinister alley in a foreign country serving as the local red light district. Or you might imagine a woman who comes to the U.S. with hopes of a better life for herself and her family who is then forced to sell her body to pay debt bondage. Maybe you think of a young woman violently forced by a hated pimp to work the streets.

By Pamela Anderson, PhD
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Tags: Human trafficking, Technology, Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual violence prevention, Violence prevention
Transgender Students & Student Information Systems: Moving Beyond the Binary
July 28, 2016

Transgender Students & Student Information Systems: Moving Beyond the Binary

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | July 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Recent publications have focused our nation’s attention on ensuring the safety and well-being of transgender students. We have been encouraged to safeguard their full access to all educational programs and activities.

In their “Dear Colleague” letter of May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have issued clear principles designed to “help ensure that transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” In July, the California School Board Association released “Updated Legal Guidance” to help California school districts move from principle to practice.

By John Shields, PhD, MSW
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Tags: K-12, School health, Student wellness, Transgender, LGBTQ
From Policy to Effective Programs: Building a Dream
July 25, 2016

From Policy to Effective Programs: Building a Dream

By Melissa Donze | July 25, 2016
MPH Candidate, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health & ETR Kirby Summer Intern

It’s hard to forget your first time on Capitol Hill. I was first there in the fall of 2012. I had just started working as the Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellow at AIDS United (a DC-based nonprofit focused on ending the HIV epidemic in the United States through strategic grantmaking and policy/advocacy).

I remember how incredible it felt to walk those marble halls where so many great policymakers had walked before me. I remember how inspired I felt to see fellow advocates preparing for meetings with high-level members of Congress.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Policy, HIV, Kirby internship, Syringe exchange, Sex education
How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back
July 20, 2016

How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back

By ETR | July 19, 2016
Note: We're posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent HealthTeen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19-21.

ETR researchers are big fans of collaboration in program evaluation. “Collaboration can ensure that your evaluation design is realistic, appropriate and effective for the context,” explains ETR researcher Pam Drake, PhD.

She’ll be joining partners Mona Desai, MPH, from Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, and Sarah Kershner, PhD, from the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, to discuss the ways collaboration has supported effective evaluations in several teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Here are some other ways collaboration helps.

Mona Desai, Pamela Drake, Sarah Kershner. How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back. Thursday, 7/21/16, 10:15-11:30 a.m. Panel in the Evaluation Track, Tubman A/B.

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, OAH TPP, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
Evaluations: Adaptations and Fidelity
July 19, 2016

Evaluations: Adaptations and Fidelity

By ETR | July 19, 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 19-21.

Here’s a challenge facing anyone delivering evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. Educators usually want to adapt programs to boost their relevance with the teens they’re working with. Program managers need to be sure any adaptations are done ways that maintain the fidelity and effectiveness of a program. If there is an evaluation component in the project, managers also need to be sure that adaptations have been noted and are taken into consideration when data is analyzed and reported.

How do you feel about fidelity monitoring of your teen pregnancy prevention programs? Have you faced challenges balancing these dynamics between adaptation and program fidelity?

BA Laris, MPH. Evaluations: Adaptations/Fidelity. Tuesday 7/19/16 1:00-2:00 p.m. Topical Roundtable in the Evaluation Section, Key-3.

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Tags: Evaluation, Implementation fidelity, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
Measuring Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers
July 19, 2016

Measuring Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers

By ETR | July 19, 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 19-21.

Teen parents face a number of challenges. When a teen mother has a rapid repeat birth—a second (or more) child before age 20—the challenges become even greater. Almost 1 in 5 teen births is a repeat birth, and only about 1 in 5 sexually active teen mothers use the most effective birth control methods.

For the past 6 years, ETR researcher Pam Drake, PhD, has been collaborating with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine on a project designed to support teen parents and prevent unintended repeat births. One strategy in the project is to increase the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). These contraceptives, including IUDs and hormonal implants, are the most effective available today, and are safe for most women, including adolescents.

On Wednesday, July 20, Dr. Drake and co-presenters Mona Desai, MPH, Leslie Clark, PhD and Vivian Okonta, all from CHLA, are offering a poster describing how they measured the consistency of contraception use over time with the teen mothers participating in their project.

Pamela Drake, Mona Desai. Measurement Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers. Wednesday, 7/20/16, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Poster #210 in the Evaluation Section, East Foyer of the Key Ballroom.

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Tags: Evaluation, OAH TPP, Pregnancy prevention, Teen moms, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning
July 18, 2016

A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning

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 19-21.

“Evaluations don’t happen in isolation,” say ETR researchers Pam Drake, PhD and BA Laris, MPH. Programs need to involve developers, administrators, implementers and evaluators to come up with an evaluation plan that will produce meaningful results.

On Wednesday, July 20, they’ll be presenting a poster on A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning. “It’s important to think about both big-scope and smaller questions,” they explain. Here are some factors to keep in mind.

BA Laris, MPH and Pamela Drake, Phd. A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning. Wednesday, 7/20/16, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Poster #209 in the Evaluation Section, East Foyer of the Key Ballroom.
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Tags: Evaluation, Teamwork
Four Innovative Methods to Recruit Community Samples of Young Adults
July 7, 2016

Four Innovative Methods to Recruit Community Samples of Young Adults

By Emily Waterman, MS | July 7, 2016
PhD Candidate at Pennsylvania State University & ETR Kirby Summer Intern

Young adulthood, the time of life around ages 18-28, is an exciting period for development. Young adults often establish lifelong health habits, solidify world views, and make important decisions about work and family life. They also tend to engage in more risk behavior than people of other ages do.

By Emily Waterman, MS
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Tags: Research, Recruitment
At the White House: The United State of Women Summit
June 29, 2016

At the White House: The United State of Women Summit

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

POTUS was there. FLOTUS was there. Joe Biden and Oprah were there, along with Amy Poehler and Gloria Steinem.

And so was ETR.

Earlier this month, the White House and partners put on the United State of Women Summit. I had the privilege of speaking there on a panel about women and HIV sponsored by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. The summit focused on health and wellness, economic empowerment, educational opportunity, violence against women, entrepreneurship and innovation, and leadership and civic engagement.

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Womens Health, White House, Women, HIV, HIV prevention, Continuum of care
How to Talk with Students About Electronic Dating Violence
June 22, 2016

How to Talk with Students About Electronic Dating Violence

By Pamela Anderson, PhD, & Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES  | June 22, 2016
Senior Research Associate & Senior Editor, ETR

Originally published at EdSurge.

Teens, tweens and even younger kids are on smartphones, tablets and computers a lot. Of course, tech can be a force for good. Parents, educators and youth themselves report many benefits from the presence of technology in young people’s lives—connecting with family and friends, sharing experiences with distant peers, learning, being entertained and more.

By Pamela Anderson, PhD
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Tags: Electronic dating violence, Violence prevention, Teens, Technology
"Out of the Office": Keeping Our Sanity at Work
June 9, 2016

"Out of the Office": Keeping Our Sanity at Work

By BA Laris, MPH | June 9, 2016
Research Associate, ETR

How do we keep our sanity at work? How many times have you heard that question?

How do we provide the best services and products possible? How do we meet the needs of our clients and customers? Our co-workers, our supervisors? Our Board of Directors and funders? How do we do all this and still maintain a healthy family and social life?

Yes. I admit it. I use my “out of the office” message regularly!

The first week of June every year, I spend seven days on my bicycle, riding with over 2,000 other cyclists. We travel the 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of AIDS Lifecycle. We raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

By B.A. Laris, MPH
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Self care, Volunteer
Our Future: Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health & Wellbeing
June 7, 2016

Our Future: Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health & Wellbeing

By Amy Peterson, MSc | June 6, 2016
Project Coordinator, ETR

A few weeks ago I attended a symposium on the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing in London. The symposium marked the launch of the third and most comprehensive report the Commission has produced on the state of global adolescent health.

With over 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 years old in the world, the promotion of healthy adolescents could have huge benefits to social and economic outcomes globally. Yet, historically, adolescents have largely been left out. They’ve lacked representation in global health indicators and a voice in the conversation about their own health and well-being.

The Lancet Commission represents a shift in the way we frame adolescent health. It elevates the importance of social determinants of health and young people's right to participate in the health discourse.

This Commission resonates and aligns with ETR’s work in the area of adolescent health, particularly sexual and reproductive health. In the report, as in ETR’s work, social determinants and neurodevelopment play a significant role in the discussion.

By Amy Peterson, MSc
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Tags: Youth, Youth voice, Adolescent health, Global issues, Neurodevelopment, Kirby summit
Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16
May 25, 2016

Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16

By Julie Adams | May 25, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR

The 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, DC last month. It marked the 100th anniversary of education researchers meeting to talk about current issues in education, research and policy. As a first-time attendee, I was inspired to see so many people gather in one place, all dedicated to improving the future of education.

I’ve been reflecting on the information shared by some of the most notable researchers in the field over the course of those five exciting days. Here are three ideas I believe are essential to keep in mind as I continue my career in research.

By Julie Adams
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Tags: Research, Education research, Diversity in technology, Computer science education

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