Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program

Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program

The Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program focuses on three primary areas of research: translational science, intervention and implementation science, and applied technology.

Translational Science

Faculty members affiliated with the Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program have expertise in translating basic science research to the community. Areas of expertise include the neuroscience of adolescent addiction, the role of discrimination and stress on inflammation processes, and utilizing technology for behavioral health intervention.

Intervention and Implementation Science

A central goal of the Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program is to improve the lives of adolescents through improved intervention and implementation science. Over several years, faculty members have developed and implemented improved substance use treatment for adolescents, implemented prevention programs within school settings, and implemented behavioral health screening for detained youth across Indiana.

Applied Technology

The adolescent mental health and addiction fields are facing a workforce shortage, making task shifting and workforce development important areas of study for researchers. Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program faculty lead statewide initiatives to improve access to and utilization of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders through online facilitation, developing and testing app-based mindfulness interventions, and utilizing computer decision support within pediatric primary care centers.

Current Projects

The Family-Based Justice Improvement Project is supported by funding from the Indiana University Grand Challenges Initiative: Responding to the Addiction Crisis. The primary purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of two evidence-based, brief substance use interventions among youth involved in the juvenile justice system who have mild to moderate substance use problems. Outcomes of interest include substance use, youth motivation/readiness to change, and criminal recidivism as assessed through youth and parent self-report as well as administrative justice system and treatment records. Implementation outcomes of treatment adoption and sustainability are also assessed.

Indiana’s Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes focused on opioid use disorder (Opioid Project ECHO) is a workforce development project funded by the State of Indiana with support from the federal 21st Century Cures Act to bolster state capacity for outpatient management of opioid use disorder. The project uses technology, including web-based meetings and content to connect addiction experts at IU School of Medicine with clinicians, behavioral healthcare providers, and community health workers to educate them about opioid use disorder and best practices in treatment.