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Japanese researcher visits BCTR


group photograph of 11 people

Visiting researcher meets with ACT for Youth staff. l to r: Jenny Parise, Mary Maley, Vanessa Amankwaa, Jutta Dotterweich, Nami Hisatsugu, Karen Schantz, Jane Powers, Heather Wynkoop Beach, Kaoru Fujishima, Brian Maley and Amanda Purington

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

A researcher from Tokyo University’s Graduate School of Social Welfare visited the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research to learn about the center’s work on participatory research and youth development.

Associate Professor Kaoru Fujishima and a translator Nami Hisatsugu spent two days meeting with BCTR researchers and students to learn about a variety of projects including ACT for Youth, Cornell Project 2Gen and the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE).  They also met with the 4-H international exchange program to learn how Japanese high school students are involved.

Fujishima was particularly interested in learning about ACT for Youth’s current research on homeless youth because the project includes community youth as research assistants. She was able to meet with the community program that serves homeless youth in Ithaca, the Learning Web, and several youth research assistants. She also met with Monica Hargraves, associate director for evaluation partnerships at Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE).

Fujishima was conducting background research for a project she is beginning to apply models of “participatory evaluation” and youth development. She learned many lessons from BCTR researchers that she will apply to her own projects, she said.

“I have learned that researchers should respect the fact that young people know their issues and support them to be involved in the research on their issues,” she said. “This is how we know their true issues and we can develop collaborative relationships with the youth.”

She also learned about the nuts and bolts of how to run a research project, she said. “Research activities in Japan have a lot of restrictions which I realize should be changed,” she said. “At the BCTR, all members of the research team have clear roles and are able to manage their work by themselves.

“Program staff and community members trust BCTR and BCTR respects program staff’s activities in the community.”

The BCTR staff also learned from their visitors, Jane Powers said. “They got to see all of the aspects of our work, and it was really meaningful for them and for us,” she said. “It was fascinating to learn about their work in Japan. They were incredibly appreciative to spend time with us, and to be welcomed by so many BCTR projects.”

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Cornell Project 2Gen    international    Jane Powers    PRYDE   

Engaged Cornell grants support BCTR youth research


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers have just received grants from Engaged Cornell that will help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.

portrait of Jane Powers in a black turtleneck

Jane Powers

ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.

And Max Kelly, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth’s access to health care.

The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.

The project led by Powers in collaboration with Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) Professor Gary Evans will bring together undergraduate design students and local youth who experience unstable housing to design an emergency shelter for homeless youth. They will partner with Tompkins Community Action, a local non-profit that serves low income families, and the Learning Web, a community-based youth mentoring organization.

“I’m excited to be involved in this community-university collaboration that aims to better serve vulnerable youth in Tompkins County,” Powers said. “We will engage Cornell students to conduct focus groups with youth who experience homelessness and then use that data to design a new youth shelter that will appeal to and meet their needs.”

DEA students working on the project will use focus group data to develop design guidelines and working drawings of interior details. Powers said she hopes it turns into a long-term relationship between the local organization and Cornell students.

portrait of Max Kelly in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck

Max Kelly

Kelly wants to take a careful look at access to health care for youth because there is a significant increase in the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases among adolescents in New York State. And there is little evidence about how gender and sexual identity affect the health and access to medical care for youth.

“I hope this information will strengthen the work that ACT for Youth is doing to promote adolescent sexual health and guide future projects for the Department of Health,” Kelly said.

He will begin working on the project during the January intersession and should have findings available in early spring.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Engaged Cornell    gender    health    healthcare    homelessness    Jane Powers    sexual health    youth   

Workshop: How to Plan and Conduct Interviews in Real-World Settings, Tuesday, February 5, 2019

 
image of the text "How to Do Research in Real-World Settings"

How to Plan and Conduct Interviews in Real-World Settings
Amanda Purington and Jane Powers, ACT for Youth

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
12:00-1:30 p.m.
ILR Conference Center, Room 423



Participants will learn how to choose an interview approach and develop an interview protocol, as well as tips to prepare for and conduct interviews. Additionally, transcription, data management and analysis will be briefly discussed.

Amanda Purington, Director of Evaluation and Research, ACT for Youth

Jane Powers, Director, ACT for Youth

To Register:

Please contact Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu
Lunch will be served.
This workshop is open to all Cornell faculty, staff and grad students.


Part of an interactive workshop series

Researchers are increasingly conducting studies in community settings and applying for grants that require documentation of real-world impact. Indeed, some funders now require components such as dissemination plans, stakeholder engagement, or community participation. To meet these new demands, researchers may wish to collaborate with non-academic groups and craft research questions and results that inform practice or policy. This series of interactive workshops shares the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s extensive experience conducting research in real-world settings and translating empirical findings into practice. Each workshop addresses a key challenge that researchers face in doing translational research and provides practical tools for overcoming obstacles to conducting effective translational research.

Full 2018-2019 How To workshop series

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Amanda Purington    How to Do Research in Real-World Settings    Jane Powers    workshop   

Showing students another career path in academia

Tags: book,   education,   Jane Powers,   Lisa McCabe,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

portraits of Lisa McCabe and Jane Powers

Lisa McCabe and Jane Powers

Two BCTR researchers authored a book chapter that is part of a career guide for people who earn a doctorate degree in behavioral or social sciences but do not want to pursue a career as a professor.

Jane Powers, the director of the project Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth Center for Community Action, and Lisa McCabe, director of the Cornell Early Childhood Program, wrote the chapter, titled Non–Tenure-Track Academic Jobs: The Side of Academia You Didn't Know Existed. It is part of the book Building a Career Outside Academia: A Guide for Doctoral Students in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, edited by Jennifer Brown Urban and Miriam R. Linver and published this year by the American Psychological Association.

“There are more people graduating with Ph.D.s today than there are tenure-track positions available in academia,” Powers said. “This book is a resource guide to help them to discover other potential career opportunities.”

“The book offers advice about how doctoral students can prepare for a variety of other types of jobs, and the pros and cons of different positions,” she said. “For my part, I have had an extremely positive experience. Although I have had somewhat less autonomy and security than if I had taken a tenure-track position, I have also had much more flexibility and control over my schedule.  I have been able to align my research interests with the wide variety of projects on which I have worked.”

book cover of "Building a Career Outside Academia"Powers and McCabe were asked to write the chapter by Jennifer Brown Urban, a professor of family science and human development at Montclair State University who received her doctorate degree from Cornell.

“It can be difficult for graduate students to learn about career opportunities outside tenure-track positions,” McCabe said. “My hope is that this book will help graduate students understand the many possibilities open to them so they can make choices that fit their individual needs. Working in a non-tenure track position has been a great fit for me. I’ve been able to engage in diverse research experiences while also preserving an ideal work-family balance.”

You can learn more about the book and order a copy on the American Psychological Association website.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: book    education    Jane Powers    Lisa McCabe   

ACT for Youth awarded new contract with NY State


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

ACT for youth logoA BCTR project that helps New York youth lead more positive, healthy lives will expand its work with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

The state awarded a new contract to the Assets Coming Together for Youth Center for Community Action (ACT for Youth), a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health. The project will receive $1.1 million in each of the next five years to develop training and resources, provide technical assistance, and evaluate youth intervention programs.

ACT for Youth has partnered with the NYSDOH since 2000. This is the project’s fourth contract with the state.

Headshot of Jane Powers

Jane Powers

“We’re thrilled to continue working with the New York State Department of Health, supporting their efforts to improve the health and well-being of adolescents in our state,” said Jane Powers, the project director.

ACT for Youth is currently working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, and Pathways to Success. As part of the new contract, ACT for Youth will now also support prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases for youth. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Adolescent Medicine Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Related:

ACT for Youth: Measuring positive youth development

ACT for Youth supports sex education and positive youth development at Provider Day

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    health    Jane Powers    sexual health    youth    youth development   

ACT hosts visiting scholar from Malaysia


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

This winter, the BCTR hosted a visiting scholar from Malaysia who shared information about youth development programs in her country.

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah is an associate professor and the deputy dean of research and innovation at Universiti Putra Malaysi.

Abdullah spent a week in Washington, D.C. at the American Evaluator Association conference, where she gave a presentation titled “Evaluating Trajectories of Youth-Adult Partnerships in Malaysia and United States” with Jane Powers, the project director of the BCTR’s ACT for Youth Center for Community Action.

Powers and Abdullah shared findings from evaluations of youth-adult partnerships conducted in the U.S. and Malaysia. Their research from both countries demonstrated that when youth and adults learn and act together as partners, they can produce high-quality and sustained efforts that endure over time.

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah with ACT for Youth Network members

Professor Haslinda Binti Abdullah (in red) with ACT for Youth Network members

Next, Abdullah visited Ithaca, where she met with BCTR staff for cross-cultural dialogue about youth development programs. And finally, she visited New York City, where she met with Cornell Cooperative Extension youth development practitioners and the ACT for Youth Network, a group of youth consultants who advise the NYS Department of Health and ACT to ensure their materials, resources, and research instruments are youth-friendly.

“It was a rich visit,” Powers said. “Malaysia is a very different society compared to the U.S. It was valuable to learn about the issues that young people face in another part of the world and the types of programming offered. For example, how they handle sex education in a primarily Islamic country.”

“But what was really enlightening to our team was discovering our similarities,” Powers said. “Because despite the differences, we learned that we share more than think.”

Abdullah said that she found the visit insightful, and hopes to continue collaborating with ACT.

“I find it interesting on how technology helps in term of promoting health-related programs organized by the ACT Youth Network,” she said. “And I learned about the reality of what it means for youth in New York to be involved with youth programs such as ACT.”

(2) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    international    Jane Powers    youth   

Preventing sexual violence by addressing boys


Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to evaluate a program for adolescent boys that aims to prevent them from becoming future perpetrators of sexual violence. Center researchers, coming together from across existing BCTR projects, will work together on the new Sexual Violence Prevention Project.

The partnership comes through the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), which was awarded a $1.8 million from the CDC over four years to investigate programs the prevent sexual assault. State public health officials are collaborating with the BCTR to conduct the research.

The team of BCTR researchers is collecting data from 12 sites in western New York who are offering the program over the next two years. In addition, the team is collecting data from 12 control sites, which are offering different types of youth programming for boys.

“We plan to enroll over 700 boys in the study, and our first groups launched this summer,” said Mary Maley, a BCTR extension associate for research synthesis and translation. “Participants complete questionnaires right before and after the program, and again three and six months later. We’re hoping to find that the boys in the intervention groups show improved attitudes and behaviors compared to the boys in the control groups. We’re very excited to be at the implementation phase of the project.”

Last month, the team visited the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to meet with CDC officials and other researchers across the country working on this issue for what they called a “reverse site visit.”

“This provided our team with a great opportunity to meet with a  number of CDC scientific officers and other researchers who are building the evidence base for effective sexual assault prevention programs,” said Jane Powers, senior extension associate and co-investigator. “We broadened our knowledge of the issues, learned about valuable CDC resources to support our work and expanded our network by meeting new colleagues and building partnerships.”

The program, Brothers as Allies, is based on the Council for Boys and Young Men developed by the One Circle Foundation. It enrolls boys ages 12 to 14 in small groups of 8 to 10 participants, which meet once a week with a male role model to focus on activities and discussions that define that it means to be a “real man.”  Boys in the program will learn how to step in when they observe bullying and work on developing empathy, communication, and relationship skills.

“The idea behind the program is entirely strength-based,” said Janis Whitlock, co-principal investigator and lead of the research team. “Boys are helped to build strong relationships with each other and with a positive adult role model as a means of understanding what positive relationships look and feel like. The male facilitators can then use these group bonds to encourage exploration and discussion of areas related to difficult topics, such as sexual violence.”

Many of the risk factors for sexual violence, such as hypermasculinity and endorsement of aggression, are based on attitudes and start to develop at this age through interactions with other boys and men, Whitlock said.

“This is a perfect time to be giving them a variety of models to choose from, because boys in particular face fairly narrow models of what it means to be a man,” she said.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Jane Powers    Janis Whitlock    Mary Maley    sexual health    youth   

Researchers evaluate a program for boys to avert sexual violence


By Susan Kelley for the Cornell Chronicle

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, and Janis Whitlock

Cornell is helping to usher in new, more effective ways to prevent sexual violence.

A team from the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) is evaluating a curriculum for boys aged 12-14 aimed at preventing sexual violence. The program is a shift from previous approaches, which generally focused on helping people avoid becoming victims of sexual assault.

Instead, this approach aims to keep boys and young men from committing sexual violence in the first place.

“If you want to stop perpetration, this may be the best tack to take,” said Mary Maley, extension associate for research synthesis and translation. “This is an innovative approach, because we’re looking at reducing risk for perpetration, not reducing risk for becoming a victim.”

BCTR is working in partnership with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), which recently was awarded a $1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). New York state is one of five awardees nationwide to receive a CDC grant to evaluate various programs to prevent sexual assault.

BCTR is the research arm of the NYSDOH project. The team will spend this first year refining the methodology, developing research tools and protocols, and recruiting program sites and participants. Data collection will begin in the fall of 2017.

The BCTR team will be working with a curriculum, the Council for Boys and Young Men, developed by the One Circle Foundation, which provides training and curricula that promote resiliency and healthy relationships. The basic idea is that male facilitators will set up and lead “councils” which consist of eight to 10 boys in seven to nine urban upstate sites.

Much of the content focuses on prosocial behavior. Councils will meet a few hours a week for several months, focusing on activities, dialogue and self-expression that challenge myths about what it means to be a “real man.” They’ll learn behavior that prevents violence, such as how to step in when they see bullying. They’ll also work on activities that develop empathic behavior, communication and relationship skills, and the ability to respect difference. Another seven to nine sites will serve as study controls to enable the researchers to test the efficacy of the curriculum.

“The idea is that they’re building strong relationships with each other and with a positive adult role model, so they’re actually able to model what positive relationships can be,” said Janis Whitlock, co-principal investigator and lead of the research team.

The middle school years are a prime time to help boys develop these skills, she said. This is the age at which they start to tune in to broader ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman.

Many of the risk factors for sexual violence, such as hypermasculinity and endorsement of aggression, are attitudinal and start to develop at this age through many moments of interactions with other boys and men, Whitlock said.

“This is a perfect time to be giving them a variety of models to choose from, because boys in particular face fairly narrow models of what it means to be a man,” she said.

Evaluation of this type of program comes at an opportune time, Whitlock said, as the definition of sexual assault has greatly expanded in recent years. Historically, sexual violence has meant penetration only. Now it includes unwanted touch, comments, penetration in various ways, and negative online behavior.

That’s important, because middle school boys have the potential to be involved in minor forms of sexual violence, such as unwanted touch, sexting and sharing of others’ images online, Whitlock said.

In this environment, the CDC’s vision was to evaluate the most innovative programs available, Whitlock said. “They wanted to push the envelope so we can get some traction on this issue, because it’s not getting better.”

The project continues a long and fruitful partnership between NYSDOH and BCTR, according to co-investigator Jane Powers. Together the two entities have collaborated over two decades to strengthen community support for youth using research-based programs and practices, she said.

“Results of this research will potentially improve the health and wellbeing of youth in New York state and beyond,” Powers said.

Researchers evaluate a program for boys to avert sexual violence - Cornell Chronicle

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    ACT for Youth    Amanda Purington    Jane Powers    Janis Whitlock    Mary Maley    media mention    youth   

Workshop: How to Conduct Focus Groups, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

 
how to workshops

How to Conduct Focus Groups
Jane Powers and Mandy Purington, ACT for Youth

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
12:00-2:00 PM
166 MVR Hall



Focus groups are a unique, and sometimes challenging, way to collect qualitative data. During a focus group, participants are asked about their perceptions, opinions, and attitudes in an interactive group setting. This workshop will provide an overview of planning and conducting focus groups, including:

  • defining a focus group
  • designing focus group questions
  • recruiting and preparing for participants
  • facilitation tips and
  • analyzing the data.

Jane Powers, Director, ACT for Youth
Amanda Purington, Amanda Purington, Director of Evaluation & Research, ACT for Youth

To Register:

Please contact Patty Thayer at pmt6@cornell.edu
Lunch will be served.
This workshop is open to all Cornell faculty, staff, and grad students.

event-htdrrws-event-image2Part of an interactive workshop series

Researchers are increasingly conducting studies in community settings and applying for grants that require documentation of real-world impact. Indeed, some funders now require components such as dissemination plans, stakeholder engagement, or community participation. To meet these new demands, researchers may wish to collaborate with non-academic groups and craft research questions and results that inform practice or policy. This series of interactive workshops shares the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s extensive experience conducting research in real-world settings and translating empirical findings into practice. Each workshop addresses a key challenge that researchers face in doing translational research and provides practical tools for overcoming obstacles to conducting effective translational research.

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Engaging Cornell students to study adolescent sexual health in the digital age


Janis Whitlock and Jane Powers

Janis Whitlock and Jane Powers

BCTR researchers Janis Whitlock (director, Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery) and Jane Powers (director, ACT for Youth) have joined forces to study how technology impacts teen sexual behavior. Their project Adolescent Sexual Health in the Digital Age explores youth and “technology-mediated sexual activity” (TMSA): how young people engage in sexually explicit activities through digital technologies, such as online pornography, sexting, and hook up apps. The work is supported by a recently-awarded Hatch grant.

As a starting point, Whitlock and Powers surveyed youth service providers, sex educators, and parents to assess their overall level of awareness and concern about TMSA, and to capture what these individuals have been observing among the youth with whom they interact.

To learn directly from young people themselves, the researchers enlisted the help of undergraduates. In collaboration with Professor Kelly Musick and students in her Research Design, Practice and Policy class (PAM 3120) Whitlock and Powers launched a semester-long project to develop a survey that could be used to explore TMSA among college students. Class members first participated in focus groups led by members of the ACT for Youth evaluation team, research assistants in the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery lab, and Callie Silver (HD ’16), a Cooperative Extension intern and core research assistant for the project. The focus groups prompted students to discuss how they think their peers navigate sex in this new digital landscape. The students then learned how to code the focus group transcripts and generate themes to develop a college survey. Once the survey was developed, students conducted a pilot study, generating approximately 400 responses. Finally, the class presented their findings as well as their recommendations for revisions to the survey.

In this mutually rewarding project, students learned about research methods through a real- world project, and in turn their work provided BCTR researchers with essential information that will be incorporated into an NIH proposal to further examine this understudied, but important, topic.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    adolescence    CRPSIR    Jane Powers    Janis Whitlock    sexual health    students