Press Release
Healthy Teen Network and Center for Adolescent Health Awarded Funding to Establish a Research-to-Practice Center

The Research-to-Practice Center will equip youth-supporting professionals with the information, skills, and products needed to implement trauma-informed and inclusive sexual and reproductive health care and programming.

Logo for Healthy Teen Network, featuring 3 interlocked orange circle outlines, and inside, outline drawings of a hand, a sunburst, and three people; below the circle, in teal, is the name, "Healthy Teen Network"
Logo for Healthy Teen Network, featuring 3 interlocked orange circle outlines, and inside, outline drawings of a hand, a sunburst, and three people; below the circle, in teal, is the name, "Healthy Teen Network"

October 7, 2022

For Immediate Release

Baltimore, MD—Healthy Teen Network, with the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA) to establish a research-to-practice center to expand the delivery of trauma-informed and inclusive practices in adolescent sexual and reproductive health programming and care.

With the Research-to-Practice Center, the project team envisions a world in which all young people have access to safe, inclusive, and affirming sexual and reproductive health programs and care that are responsive to their lived experiences and supportive of their personal sexual-health journeys. The products and accompanying technical assistance (TA) will improve the quality, access, and equity of adolescent sexual and reproductive health promotion services and programs.

The team will apply a comprehensive and holistic understanding and application of what it means to provide trauma-informed and inclusive programming and care, in person and virtually. Now more than ever, there is a pressing need for widespread integration of trauma-informed and inclusive practices that accounts for the many ways that adversity may impact young people’s sexual and reproductive health.

THE APPROACH

The team will use a human-centered design approach to translate research to practice and create research-based products that are user-friendly and easily accessible to health providers, caregivers, and youth-supporting professionals, as well as professionals working with policymakers, the general public, and other interested parties.

Human-centered design is a creative problem-solving process that begins with cultivating deep empathy with the people who will use the product or service (i.e., the end-user) to develop solutions that are viable and appropriate in their context. The collaborative nature of human-centered design is rooted in feedback-gathering to authentically respect and value end-users’ real-world experiences. This process will ensure the products and technical assistance are responsive to the lived realities of youth-supporting professionals and young people.

When professionals have the support they need, adolescents get the trauma-informed and inclusive, affirming care and education they deserve. Part of this essential support is research-based resources and products that are accessible, practical, and user-friendly. Unfortunately, too often, researchers and product developers claim to translate research to practice by restating or summarizing data and information in formal, inaccessible language without concrete steps to guide practice. With its commitment to human-centered design, this team is uniquely poised to impact public health practice through its end-user-driven approach.

The Team

Logo for Healthy Teen Network, featuring 3 interlocked orange circle outlines, and inside, outline drawings of a hand, a sunburst, and three people; below the circle, in teal, is the name, "Healthy Teen Network"

Healthy Teen Network promotes better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. Since 1979, Healthy Teen Network has been building the capacity of professionals and organizations to provide all adolescents and young adults, including young people who are pregnant or parenting, with the inclusive and affirming services, supports, and education necessary to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. As a national leader in adolescent sexual and reproductive, Healthy Teen Network’s diverse and talented efforts are nationally recognized for (1) providing high-quality training and TA to improve practitioners’ ability to develop and implement evidence-based approaches; (2) coordinating and collaborating with national, regional, and state agencies in pursuit of common goals to promote adolescent health and well-being; (3) applying HCD to develop innovative solutions and products; and (4) translating and disseminating complex research and data into accessible, user-friendly content for professionals.

“We are honored and thrilled to have this new opportunity. Teachers and educators, counselors and clinicians, caring adults, every day, they are working hard to provide young people with honest and affirming care and education. But they need resources that are truly user-friendly and provide real guidance on how to put research to practice. The Center will do just that, by centering the end-user—the professionals. Through our human-centered design approach, we know these research-based resources will be better suited to impact their practice, and ultimately, support and empower young people to live their authentic sexuality.”

–Janet Max, President and CEO, Healthy Teen Network

Logo for Healthy Teen Network, featuring 3 interlocked orange circle outlines, and inside, outline drawings of a hand, a sunburst, and three people; below the circle, in teal, is the name, "Healthy Teen Network"

The Center for Adolescent Health is housed within the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Over its nearly three decades as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded Prevention Research Center, the Center for Adolescent Health has developed extensive partnership networks with government agencies, healthcare providers, educators, and other Youth-supporting professionals, policymakers, researchers, advocates, community members, and youth. Center faculty and staff aim to promote health equity and well-being for youth through connection and collaboration with this diverse network of young people and community and academic partners on public health research, education, policy, and practice.

“The Research-to-Practice Center is the embodiment of the Center’s mission and core values. We are elated to have the opportunity to ensure that the work of researchers in sexual and reproductive health is translated in partnership with youth-serving professionals and youth so that knowledge transfer is accessible to all and is grounded in the needs of young people.”

– Beth Marshall, Associate Director, Center for Adolescent Health

This work will be enriched by a collaborative partnership with a Research Alliance composed of adolescent health and human-centered design researchers, youth-supporting professionals, and youth.

In sum, the team is a partnership of people remarkably well-trained and well-suited to do this work, with a diversity of expertise and perspectives, including those with proven track records of conducting and translating research, implementing evidence-based approaches, providing training and technical assistance (TA), and working with diverse professionals, communities, and youth populations.

Research-to-Practice Center Director, Milagros Garrido, MS, PMP, Healthy Teen Network, and Principal Investigator, Beth Marshall, DrPH, MPH, Center for Adolescent Health will oversee all activities. By bringing together this diversity of experience and perspective, the team is well-positioned to develop research-to-practice products that can impact practice.

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Contact: Gina Desiderio, Director of Communications, Healthy Teen Network

Follow @JohnsHopkinsCAH on Twitter.

Contact: Paige Wilson, Communications Director, Center for Adolescent Health

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Healthy Teen Network promotes better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. Healthy Teen Network is a membership organization nationally recognized for its quality training and technical assistance, integration of evidence-informed and best practices with innovative strategies, and translation of complex research to accessible resources and tools to support professionals.

PHOTO CREDIT: DisobeyArt on Adobe Stock