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Pediatrics ResearchFor adolescent medicine pediatricians at IU School of Medicine, scientific inquiry underpins all activities –from clinical care and teaching to empiric research. This group of pediatric specialists understands that the most impactful research related to adolescent health is interdisciplinary and collaborative within and across disciplines, departments and universities; and research must engage the community as a partner. Research projects here have led to important policy changes that impact the health of communities.

This productive approach to medical research enables the adolescent medicine team to recruit top-notch faculty who are excellent clinicians, teachers and investigators. Adolescent medicine faculty are nationally known for research in adolescent health as well as for advocacy and policy issues related to adolescents on the regional and national levels. The team’s research portfolio has grown from a $35,000 award to Donald Orr, MD, in 1984 to approximately $3 million annually.

Areas of Study

Pediatric Dermatology Fellowship

HPV Research

The Center for HPV Research at IU School of Medicine focuses on improving the understanding of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) transmission and infection, and prevention of HPV infection and its consequences.
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Behavioral Health Research Program

Behavioral Health Research Program

Faculty physicians from pediatrics, psychology and psychiatry collaborate with youth, families, communities and youth-serving systems to conduct high-quality translational science, intervention and implementation research projects.
Learn More Behavioral Health Research Program
  • Community-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention
    Division investigator Devon J. Hensel, PhD, has a decade-long collaboration with the community organization, Health Care Education and Prevention, Inc. in evaluating teen pregnancy prevention programs. Using mixed methods, Ott and Hensel examine the implementation of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program in diverse Indiana communities. Projects target system-involved youth, rural youth, and early adolescents, and provide insights into the adaptation and development of innovative pregnancy programs for youth.
  • Contraceptive Access
    Expanding contraceptive access is the single most effective way to prevent adolescent pregnancy. In collaboration with investigators in Children’s Health Services Research (Tracey Wilkinson, MD) and the Purdue College of Pharmacy (Ashley Meredith, PharmD). A Society for Family Planning grant provided data suggesting that minors are able to self-screen and consent for hormonal contraception in pharmacy settings. Follow-up work includes a pilot study examining the implementation of a pharmacist contraceptive prescribing program at Purdue University.
  • Gender Health Research
    The overall goal of the research program in gender health is to improve evidence-based understanding of gender affirming care for adolescents and young adults. The research program has four main areas: 1) improving clinical experiences and decisions making for patients and parents; 2) projects related to bio-psychological changes associated with gender affirming hormone therapies; 3) school wellbeing among adolescent and young adult trans and gender nonbinary people; and, 4) projects related to improving primary care experiences of sexual and gender minoritized people. The projects involve several faculty and staff members of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, in collaboration with faculty from Pediatric Endocrinology, the Eskenazi Gender Health Program, the School of Social Work, Pediatric Cardiology, the Division of Public Health at Purdue University, and the School of Public Health at Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Adolescent Sexual Health and Wellbeing
    Learning to manage sexuality, sexual behavior and relationships is a key developmental task of adolescence, and positive sexual health experiences in this time frame support lifelong well-being. Many Division faculty investigate adolescent sexual health. Devon Hensel, PhD, links aspects of adolescent romantic/sexual relationships – such as relationship quality and support – to sexual behavior and condom/contraceptive decision making. Hensel also engages innovative technology (e.g. cell phones, tablets, photography or functional magnetic resonance imaging) to better understand the context of adolescent sexual health. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, has conducted research associated with sexually transmitted disease transmission in adolescents and adults.

Active Research

The Division of Adolescent Medicine at IU School of Medicine performs a wide variety of research projects encompassing multiple pediatric specialty areas. Research investigators in this group are CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) certified and uphold the standards of Good Clinical Practices. Along with the Principal Investigators, adolescent medicine researchers continue to ask new questions and turn that knowledge into useful practices that can be translated to patients and policy-makers. Participant study requirements are available through CTSI.