2020 - 2022
Activate Collective

Bridging the gap between research and practice

What It Is

From 2020 to 2022, Healthy Teen Network partnered with Child Trends and Chapin Hall to develop and disseminate research-based practice resources for professionals who work with youth. The Activate project was funded through a grant from the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This initiative aimed to bridge the gap between research and practice in support of OPA’s mission to promote adolescent health and the development of positive assets and healthy behaviors.

To guide the work, Activate maintained partnerships with a Research Alliance composed of researchers, and professionals who work with or on behalf of youth, young people, and other collaborators.

Activate’s key audiences included professionals who work in systems with youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (e.g., youth in foster care; youth on probation), youth experiencing homelessness, and opportunity youth (i.e., youth who are disconnected from school and work).

Why It Matters

Professionals often lack easily accessible, research-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health resources in their work.

We know that when youth-supporting professionals have research-backed approaches handy, they can focus on what matters—encouraging young people to make healthy choices about their sexual and reproductive health.

That’s why Activate focused on creating and curating resources to help professionals put essential research into practice.

Our Role in Activate

Brand and Website

Healthy Teen Network designed and launched the original Activate brand and website. As a capacity-building organization, our goal is always to provide high-quality visuals and consistent designs targeted towards our end users, youth-supporting professionals, while also being user-friendly and accessible.

Brand recognition is essential, particularly for a new initiative like Activate, to generate recognition, trust, and motivation to use the resources. In 2020, Healthy Teen Network intentionally designed the Activate brand, as demonstrated in our design of the original project website, to be different and stand out from the typical federally-funded center you might see.

Brand recognition is essential, particularly for a new initiative like Activate, to generate recognition, trust, and motivation to use our resources.

To create this modern, friendly, and accessible brand, we created a brand that incorporated digitally drawn sketches with clean lines, vibrant colors, clean geometries and lines, and use of white space, borrowing from (or building on) Modernism and Minimalism designs. We wanted our potential resource end-users to anticipate that Activate would be accessible and user-friendly, and that was reflected in our branding.

Human-Centered Design

As an expert on human-centered design, Healthy Teen Network provided guidance, coaching, and support to Activate project teams, as they considered how to create high-quality resources designed to meet the needs of the end-users.

Human-centered design (HCD) is a creative problem-solving process that involves the communities we serve in the development of solutions to the issues they face. In HCD, the endusers’ contributions become the backbone of our solutions. HCD also challenges us to see our work differently, especially for those of us who may think of our roles and professions as not as creative.  

Human-centered design centers the end-user, so you can create inovative solutions that meet their needs better.

Because, as the name suggests, HCD design provides opportunities to collaborate with end-users as active contributors of the solution. The combination of these real-world perspectives, along with research and best practices, means we can create innovative solutions that actually solve problems.


As a project partner, Healthy Teen Network supported the dissemination efforts to share Activate resources with youth-supporting professionals.

What’s Next

While our role on the Activate project is now complete, we are thrilled to be embarking on a new initiative with the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health to establish a research-to-practice center to expand the delivery of trauma-informed and inclusive sexual and reproductive health care and programming.

Our Experts 

This project is supported by the Office of Population Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,092,000 with 100 percent funded by OPA/OASH/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, OPA/OASH/HHS, or the U.S. government. For more information, please visit https://opa.hhs.gov/.

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