Medical School

Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health

Department of Pediatrics

Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center


PRC 30th Ann Logo  


The Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health is home to the University of Minnesota's Healthy YouthDevelopment • Prevention Research Center (HYD • PRC), one of the premier sites in the country for adolescent health research. At the HYD • PRC researchers are learning about the best practices for providing adolescents with the necessary skills and opportunities to live healthy and meaningful lives. The HYD • PRC is also dedicated to learning and implementing ways to reduce health disparities that exist among Minnesota's young people.  In addition to research, the HYD • PRC supports the youth-serving community in many ways:

  • Promoting best practices
  • Evaluating program effectiveness
  • Improving policies and systems
  • Building public support for young people
  • Advising community based organizations
  • Training educators, public health professionals, sexual health educators, health care practitioners, and youth workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide funding to support the University of Minnesota's HYD • PRC and 25 other PRCs housed at universities across the country. The mission of the U of MN's HYD • PRC is to collaborate with community and public health partners to develop and disseminate actionable knowledge and practices that promote healthy youth development and health equity among all young people.

Click the gray tabs below to learn more about our program!


(This publication is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1 U48 DP001939 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

More Information
  • About Us

    The Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center (PRC) collaborates with state and local organizations and communities to provide training, conduct research, and disseminate findings related to best practices in healthy youth development.

    Prevention Research Centers

    For the past 30 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has worked to eliminate health disparities and create healthy communities by funding Prevention Research Centers throughout the United States. These 26 academic research centers strive to link science to practice through collaborations with public health agencies and community-based organizations, while translating research findings into policy, public health programs, and practices. These centers also aspire to create change at community level, aiming to prevent and control chronic diseases and other threats to population health.  All PRCs share the fundamental goals of advancing the fields of health promotion and disease prevention by:

    • Focusing on high-priority health issues
    • Bridging gaps between scientific knowledge and public health practices and policies
    • Applying and rapidly transferring research results
    • Enhancing cooperation between academic colleges and universities, state and local health departments, and health-related agencies and organizations.


    Since 1996, the University of Minnesota has received funding from the CDC to support and sustain the HYD • PRC.  Initially named the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research Center, the current Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center (HYD • PRC) name reflects the knowledge gained from nearly two decades of work aimed at improving the health of young people through evidence-based programs. 

    Community-partnered Research

    During each funded grant cycle, the HYD • PRC conducts a major community-partnered research project. These have focused exclusively on how best to support adolescents’ development and prevent negative health outcomes. Research settings have included community programs, health clinics, and middle schools evaluating the effectiveness of case management, peer education, and service learning programs.

    During this grant cycle, the HYD • PRC will investigate how to address health and academic disparities in schools through social/emotional learning and teacher professional development. To learn more about Partnering for Healthy Student Outcomes, please click the Core Research Project tab. 

    Technical Services for Youth Serving Community

    In addition to supporting the Center’s core research project, HYD • PRC staff work as technical advisors and consultants to a variety of community organizations and governmental systems. The CDC has long encouraged this type of community engagement and over time, the HYD • PRC has completed a number of projects via contracts with these partners. 

              Program Evaluation 

    HYD • PRC evaluators bring research expertise and a sophisticated understanding of the relationship between healthy youth development concepts and health/academic outcomes.

    Evaluation services include:                      

    • Grant writing
    • Outcomes and process evaluation
    • Data collection tools
    • Data analysis
    • Logic model development
    • Report/fact sheet preparation, design, and production 

    A sampling of the HYD • PRC's community-based evaluation partners include:

    • Minnesota Department of Education - Promoting Adolescent Health Through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and School-Based Surveillance project (CDC-DASH)
    • Minnesota Department of Health - Minnesota Chlamydia Partnership; Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative 
    • Restorative Measures Program - Minneapolis Public Schools and Legal Rights Center, Inc.
    • Teenwise Minnesota
    • The Broadway School
    • Youth Farm and Market

              Marketing & Communications

    The marketing and communications expertise resident at the HYD • PRC is highly sought after by community partners and is realized through training, technical assistance, and consulting, and is frequently obtained through contracted services. 

    Communication projects include:

    • Grant writing
    • Strategic marketing & communications planning (social marketing)
    • Branding & naming
    • Messaging & framing
    • Creating/producing publications, digital media assets, etc. 

    A sampling of the HYD • PRC's marketing and communications partners include:

    • Aqui Para Tí
    • Hennepin County "Better Together Hennepin"
    • Minnesota Department of Health - Minnesota Chlamydia Partnership
    • CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health
    • Associate of Maternal and Child health Professionals
    • ERT Associates
    • City MatCH
    • Kandiyohi County; Nobles-Rock County

              Grant/RFP/ Proposal Review and Guidance

    The HYD • PRC's investment in community relationships and outreach affords us an understanding of adolescent health at the federal, state, and local levels crossing from programming to policy to measures to marketing. Community Outreach Coordinator Jenny Oliphant has served on a multitude of review committees including: 

    • Office of Adolescent Health (HRSA)
    • National Community Committee (CDC)
    • CDC/Division of HIV/STD
    • U.S. Department of Education
    • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    Training: Best Practices in Adolescent Health

    HYD • PRC staff are skilled trainers that collaborate with community and systems partners to create and implement trainings for scholars and the youth serving community by:

    • Nurturing the next generation of adolescent  health leaders by training and advising residents and fellows;
    • Participating in the highly successful annual "Summer Institute in Adolescent Health" focused on healthy youth development;
    • Promoting adolescent sexual health best practices;
    • Providing marketing, communications, and advocacy workshops designed to improve how youth-serving communities "frame" adolescents while inspiring and supporting active and engaged adolescents. 
  • Core Research Project

    In each grant cycle, all PRCs conduct prevention research in community settings.  In the past we've investigated:

    • Improving adolescent sexual health outcomes through a clinic-linked intervention (Prime Time),
    • Increasing school connectedness and student engagement through a school-based, service-learning project (Lead Peace) and,
    • Most recently, enhancing positive development, healthy sexual decision-making and behaviors among young Latino teens through a teen-parent program co-developed and implemented with partners from the Latino community (¡Encuentro!).

    Core Research Project

    Our 2014-2019 PRC core research study returns to school-based settings: it aims to improve health and academic outcomes for young adolescents while reducing the achievement gap.  We will investigate the synergy between an evidence-based, social-emotional learning program for students and youth development-focused professional development for teachers.  This project builds on our previous work funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences with the Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health

              School Connectedness + School Engagement = Improved academic and health outcomes

    Our pioneering work with healthy youth development strategies reveals that:

    • When young people's developmental needs are addressed,
    • When young people feel connected to school and their teachers,
    • When young people are engaged with learning and their environment,

    We see measurable improvements in school outcomes and graduate rates as well as increase health and wellness. 

              Evidence-based Classroom Programming: Social Emotional Learning (Positive Action)

    Positive Action is a systemic educational program that promotes an intrinsic interest in learning and encourages cooperation among students.  It works by teaching and reinforcing the intuitive philosophy that you feel good about  yourself when you do positive actions.  Positive Action is well suited for the developmental concerns of young people and supports their development of social and emotional skills.

    In this grant cycle, the PRC is continuing the research inquiry for this evidence-based program by investigating it's efficacy in middle-school settings and impacts specifically among "disengaged" students.

    Teacher Team Professional Development

    The PRC looks to enhance student outcomes by adding a teacher-focused intervention to the mix.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and implemented by colleagues at the Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health, "The Minnesota Partnership for School Connectedness" worked to increase connections between sixth grade teachers and their students, resulting in increased student engagement among the most disengaged learners.

    Aligned with the Konopka Institute's long-standing emphasis on engaging adults in health youth development strategies that support young people, MPSC innovated traditional teacher professional development programs; introduced changes in teacher practices and ways of identifying and responding to student's needs - particularly the needs of the least engaged students. 

              Innovative Teacher Professional Development

    • A year-long approach
    • Responding directly to teacher needs
    • Routinely addressing issues of equity and diversity
    • Providing professional coaching
    • Conducting classroom observations and delivering timely feedback

    MPSC introduced changes in teacher practice and ways of identifying and responding to students' needs, particularly the needs of the least engaged students. School districts that participated in MPSC changed:

    • How teachers are observed in the classroom,
    • How student behaviors are addressed,
    • How the unique needs of students of color are recognized and acknowledged,
    • How new programming is identified to address the needs of both students and teachers alike.


    The MPSC project measured both teacher and student outcomes.  These included:

    Teacher Outcomes

    • Improved capacities for building relationships with students
    • Increased skills in providing engaged instruction
    • Enhanced focus on engaging the most disengaged learners
    • Increased professional support from administrators

    Student Outcomes

    In general, students initially classified as engaged maintained high and fairly steady levels of engagement.  Students classified as disengaged during the Fall, became significantly more engaged during the school year. 

  • Special Interest Projects

    Historically we've leveraged our on-going relationship with the CDC to support an array of additional prevention research studies here at the U of MN.  Thus, we are thrilled that U of MN researchers have obtained three CDC-funded, 5-year "Special Interest Projects." 


    Title of project: Youth Epilepsy and Successful Self-Management
    Peter Scal, MD, MPH -
    Assistant Professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent health, Department of Pediatrics, Medical School

    As a collaborating center of the Managing Epilepsy Well Network, Dr. Scal’s research will develop and test a youth-focused, Internet-based, theoretically grounded self-management program for youth living with epilepsy.

    Title of project: Workplace Health Research Network (WHRN) - Collaborating Centers
    Jean Abraham, PhD -
    Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health
    John Nyman, PhD -
    Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health

    As a collaborating center of the Workplace Health Research Network, Drs. Abraham and Nyman will team up with several large Twin Cities area corporations to implement and evaluate science-based workplace health promotion programs.

    Title of project: Impact of Local Staple Food Ordinance on Healthy Food Access: The STORE (STaple food ORdinance Evaluation) Study
    Melissa Laska, PhD, RD -
    Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health
    As a collaborating center of the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network, Dr. Laska will evaluate the impact of a local policy change (i.e., the Minneapolis Staple Food Ordinance) that established minimum stocking criteria for a wide array of health foods as a requirement of food store licensing.

  • Training

    PRCs bridge academic study and practical, community application of the evidence base.  As a result, PRC staff are proficient trainers frequently called upon to build the capacity of community partners to support the health and well-being of adolescents.

    The PRC is housed in the U of MN Medical School - creating opportunities to share knowledge and collaborate with students, residents, and fellows.  The HYD • PRC's reach extends beyond academia to develop and implement trainings for the youth serving community at large. 

    • Residents & Fellows
    • Marketing & Communications
    • Sexual Health
    • Summer Institute


    Residents & Fellows 


    Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Fellowship

    Supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Fellowship provides interdisciplinary leadership training, development, continuing education, scholarship, technical assistance, and collaborative relationships with other MCH programs, all aimed at training the next generation of adolescent health leaders. HYD • PRC staff are represented in all aspects of this fellowship program – as faculty, teaching specialists, and mentors. The HYD • PRC has funded a LEAH fellow for the last 16 years.

    Interested in becoming a HYD • PRC LEAH Fellow?  Apply here! 

    CONTACT: Michael Resnick


    Resident Training - Adolescent Health Rotation

    The adolescent health resident training rotation at the U of MN Medical School provides a unique lens into an interdisciplinary approach to preventive care for adolescents while weaving in community-based clinical experiences, and affording residents the opportunity to be affiliated with one of seven federally-funded graduate/post-graduate training programs in adolescent health. In addition, in a simulated patient/teacher atmosphere, practitioners gain experience interviewing, assessing, and providing interventions to adolescents trained to provide feedback on the experience. HYD • PRC staff are instrumental in training future doctors and handle assignments that focus on sexual health interviewing skills.

    For more information, please click, adolescent health rotation.

    CONTACT: Hannah Gaustad-Randolph 


    YouthChat/Adolescent Actors

    Initially developed as a strategy to improve the training of adolescent health residents, YouthChat is a company comprised of diverse youth who are employed by the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health. These youth deliver a compelling training experience for adolescent medicine doctors through role-playing situations that include interviewing, assessment, and intervention skills. HYD • PRC staff support the training and mentoring of these talented young people. In addition to working with residents, the YouthChat team consults on both internal and external projects, and members serve as youth health experts on a variety of panels.

    For more information, please click, adolescent actors.

    CONTACT: Jenny Oliphant


    Marketing and Communications

    The U of MN’s HYD • PRC is historically unique in its emphasis and approach to communicating and disseminating evidence-based recommendations to the youth serving community.  Bringing over 20 years of marketing and communications expertise to the PRC (including 10 years as an advertising executive), Communications Director, Glynis Shea provides engaging and highly applied training, consulting, and technical assistance. Leveraging both research-based framing insights and private sector best practices, Shea provides a range of communications workshops, webinars, keynote speeches, and seminars focused primarily on adolescent-centric and equity topics.

    To view some of our marketing and communications materials, please click, materials.

    CONTACT: Glynis Shea


    Sexual Health

    It's That Easy! 

    Providing a guide to raising sexually healthy children, It's that Easy! aims to supply parent educators with the training and tools needed to empower parents to connect with their children while engaging in meaningful conversations about, sex, sexuality, and relationships. HYD • PRC staff experts helped to develop this curriculum, conducted an evaluation, and continue to facilitate trainings as they arise. 

    For more information, please click, It's That Easy!

    CONTACT: Kara Beckman


    Minnesota Reproductive Health Updates

    Sponsored in part by the HYD • PRC, Minnesota Reproductive Health Updates provide training in the latest reproductive health practices, research, and technology. These workshops pay special attention to contraceptive technologies, STI/HIV and emergency contraception, serving people on the transgender spectrum, political updates, and more.

    For more information, please contact Jenny Oliphant. 

    CONTACT: Jenny Oliphant


    Teenwise Minnesota Annual Conference

    Teenwise Minnesota is the state-wide leader in promoting adolescent sexual health and development. Their mission is to promote the sexual health of young people by strengthening the capacity to implement evidence-based practices, programs, and policies. The HYD • PRC is an annual sponsor of the Teenwise Minnesota annual conference and staff continues to support the conference through planning and evaluation. Staff are regularly featured as workshop trainers and keynote speakers.

    For more information, please click, Teenwise.

    CONTACT: Jenny Oliphant

    Summer Institute in Adolescent Health 

    The HYD • PRC has been a long time co-sponsor of this annual 3-day adolescent health institute. Designed to disseminate the latest research on common and emerging issues in adolescent health, the Summer Institute in Adolescent Health strives to create an institute that enhances the skills of practitioners and providers who work with adolescents, providing them with skills and training to effectively work with, and on behalf of young people at individual and population levels.

    For more information, please click, Summer Institute.

    CONTACT: Jenna Baumgartner

  • Research

    Our long-standing research tradition is hallmarked by an interweaving of research and the translation of research to improve the health and well-being of young people. Led by Resnick, Sieving, and colleagues, the PRC research team has engaged in some of the most significant adolescent research efforts – nationally and in Minnesota. These include: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health).

    In fact, Resnick had lead responsibility for crafting the initial published research paper from the Add Health study. That landmark research was released by JAMA in 1997 with Resnick as lead author. This seminal article has been cited more than nearly any other publication in the field of adolescent health and led to widespread prominence of the influence of connectedness on adolescent health, resilience, and well-being.

    In recent years, University of Minnesota PRC investigators have partnered with youth-serving organizations in the Twin Cities and elsewhere to develop and test innovative programs and services for various groups of young people. Learn more about our research below and on the "Core Research Project" page, which highlights Partnering for Healthy Student Outcomes, Encuentro, Lead Peace, and Prime Time research.

    Below you will find profiles of PRC-funded researchers. Use the profile links for references to their peer-reviewed research.

    Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM
    Professor, Schools of Nursing and Medicine
    Director, Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center


    Research interests:

    • Youth health promotion
    • Prevention of health risk behaviors (sexual risks, violence involvement, school drop-out) among adolescents

    Annie-Laurie McRee, PrPH
    Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
    Deputy Director, Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center


    Research interests:

    • HPV vaccination
    • Parental influences on adolescent health
    • Adolescent health care utilization
    • Parent-child communication
    • Adolescent sexual behaviors

    Barbara McMorris, PhD
    Associate Professor, Schools of Nursing and Medicine
    Core Research Project Principal Investigator


    Research interests:

    • Prevention of risky health behaviors in adolescence
    • Promotion of health among vulnerable populations
    • Program evaluation, research methods, and statistical modeling

    Amy Gower, PhD
    Research Associate, Medical School


    Research interests:

    • Multi-level research
    • Health issues of LGBT adolescent population
    • Environmental and social contexts of adolescent health

    Michael Harwell, PhD
    Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Education & Human Development


    Research interests:

    • Development of meta-analytic effect sizes and tests
    • Roles and impact of conceptual and empirical models for socioeconomic status (SES)
    • Nonparametric estimators and tests for complex statistical models 

    Cathy Jordan, PhD
    Associate Professor, Medical School


    Research interests:

    • Community-based participatory research
    • Community-engaged scholarship
    • Nature-based education
    • Developmental impact of outdoor experiences on youth

    Michael Resnick, PhD, FSAHM
    Professor, Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health
    Gisela and E. Paul Konopka Chair in Adolescent Health and Development
    Director, Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Fellowship Program


    Research interests:

    • Adolescent health and risk behaviors
    • Resiliency and protective factors in young people
    • Youth sexual behaviors and violence prevention

    Rebecca Shlafer, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Medical School


    Research interests:

    • Developmental outcomes of children and families with multiple risk factors 
    • Programs and policies impacting children and families affected by incarceration
  • Publications

    The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health)

    The Add Health Survey is a comprehensive school-based study of the health-related behaviors of adolescents in the United States. Over 90,000 students in grades 7-12 participated in phase one of this study, with over 20,000 parents and adolescents participating in phase two. Phase three was completed in April 2002 when the original sample, all of whom were young adults, were interviewed for a third time. Dr. Michael Resnick, PhD, director of the Prevention Research Center, envisioned a dissemination plan for this nationally renowned survey in a manner that would best serve those serving adolescents. This research was analyzed and transformed into a monograph series focused on several core audience segments (education, health care, parent/family support professional) as well as the general public.

    Influencing Behavior
    Mother's Influence on Teen Sex
    Improving the Odds
    Reducing the Risk
    Protecting Teens

    Broadway School Project
    Fostering Positive Outcomes


    Legal Rights Center

    Fact Sheet
    The Family & Youth Restorative Conference Program
    Executive Summary
    Legal Rights Center Report

    Minnesota Chlamydia Partnership
    Coalition for Healthy Adolescent Sexuality
    Public Health Response: Community Engagement - Chlamydia Epidemic
    Tips for Parents
    Minnesota Chlamydia Partnership Report
    For More Information

    Minnesota State Teen Pregnancy Plan
    Effective Curricula #1
    Policy Maker Partners
    State Plan Recommendation
    A Work in Progress Report

    Fact Sheet
    MyPath - Healthy Youth Development

    Perspectives on Sexual Education
    What do Teachers Think?
    What do Parents Think?
    What do Normandale Students Think?

    Youth Farm and Market
    Evaluation Findings from the 2009 Summer Program
    A Youth Action Research Project
    Youth Growing Sustaining Community 

    For information on Encuentro, Lead Peace, or Prime Time, please click here. 




    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update June 2009
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update April 2009


    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update Dec 2008
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update Sept 2008
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update July 2008
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update May 2008
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update Feb 2008


    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update Sept 2007
    • Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center e-Update Dec 2007
    • Healthy Youth Development POLICY News from the Heathy Youth Development Prevention Research Center, May 2007
  • Our Staff

    Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center Key Personnel, Faculty, and Staff


    Key Personnel 

    Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM
    Principal Investigator & Director, Healthy Youth Development PRC
    Professor, Schools of Nursing and Medicine

    Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH
    Co-Investigator & Deputy Director, Healthy Youth Development PRC
    Assistant Professor, School of Medicine

    Barbara McMorris, PhD
    Core Research Project Principal Investigator
    Associate Professor, Schools of Nursing and Medicine



    Michael Harwell, PhD
    Core Research Project Co-Investigator
    Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Education & Human Development

    Cathy Jordan, PhD
    Training Team Leader
    Associate Professor, Medical School 

    Michael Resnick, PhD, FSAHM
    Co-Investigator & Past Director, Healthy Youth Development PRC
    Professor, Schools of Medicine, Nursing, & Public Health

    Rebecca Shlafer, PhD
    Evaluation Team Leader
    Assistant Professor, Medical School



    Jenna Baumgartner, MS
    Resource Development and Special Projects

    Kara Beckman, MA
    Senior Evaluator

    Abigail Gadea
    Program Staff, Core Research Project

    Amy Gower, PhD
    Research Associate

    Jenny Oliphant, MPH
    Community Outreach Coordinator

    Shari Plowman, MPH
    Senior Evaluator

    Glynis Shea, BA
    Communications Director

    Paul Snyder, MSW, MDiv
    Program Director, Core Research Project


  • Contact Us

    The Healthy Youth Development • Prevention Research Center (HYD • PRC)
    Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health
    Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, University of Minnesota
    717 Delaware Street SE
    3rd Floor West
    Minneapolis, MN 55414-2959
    Fax: (612) 626-2134

    Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM
    Director, HYD • PRC

    Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH
    Deputy Director, HYD • PRC

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  • Last modified on November 5, 2015