Premier adolescent health research center receives renewed CDC funding

Core research to improve confidential adolescent preventive health services

March 26, 2020
Brett Stursa

Renee Sieving lecturing to a room of people

The Healthy Youth Development-Prevention Research Center, one of the premier sites in the country for adolescent health research, received renewed funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue its focus on developing and disseminating evidence-based programs and practices to promote health and healthy development among all adolescents.

The center, directed by Professor Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM, was one of 25 prevention research centers around the country to receive CDC funding.

“Investments in adolescent health have the potential to deliver a ‘triple dividend’ for health: during adolescence itself, across the life course and – because adolescents are the next generation of parents – in a healthy start for the next generation,” said Sieving. The center is based in the Medical School’s Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health and has been continuously funded by the CDC since 1996.

With renewed funding, the center will launch a new core research project to develop and test a primary care clinic-level intervention to enhance the quality of confidential adolescent preventive services. This study will address substantial gaps between professional guidelines regarding adolescent preventive services and practice.

“One goal we have is to develop practical ways for primary care providers and clinics to encourage parent-teen communication and engage youth in taking ownership of their health and health care,” said Sieving.

In addition, the center will continue to offer a range of community-engaged activities to promote adolescent health and healthy development. Findings from the 2014-2019 core research project Partnering for Healthy Student Outcomes (PHSO), based in Twin Cities area middle schools and led by Barb McMorris, PhD, associate professor in the School of Nursing, will be shared with relevant audiences. The PHSO professional development program, Whole Learners, will continue to grow. Developed with school partners in rural, suburban and urban areas of Minnesota, Whole Learners includes strategies to assist teachers, administrators and school staff build authentic connections with students.

The center will also continue to offer training, technical assistance and evaluation services to individuals and organizations invested in adolescent health and development.

“We are excited to continue working with state and local health departments, youth-serving clinics, K-12 schools, and community organizations to create opportunities and supports that our young people need to thrive,” said Sieving.

To learn more about the center’s array of research and resources, visit

Categories: Research