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Past Projects

These projects are projects that have been completed within the past five years. For older projects, please go to Resources/Archived Reports.

Community-Based Development of a Pilot Program to Promote Health Among Urban Latino Youth in a School-Based Setting

Principal Investigator: Michelle Johnson-Motoyoma, PhD; Paula Fite, PhD; Michelle Levy, AM

Research Staff: Mindi Moses, GRA; Tiffany Koloroutis, MSW Research Fellow

Positive youth development programs can prevent adolescent pregnancy and substance use by building skills, strengthening the family, engaging youth in meaningful roles and activities, and communicating expectations. Moreover, positive youth development programs may achieve an economy of promotional and preventive effects by addressing common risk factors across a variety of youth outcomes. The purpose of this study was to develop and implement a pilot program to prevent adolescent pregnancy, HIV/STIs, and substance use among Latino youth in Kansas City, Missouri, through community-based research with students, teachers, and school administrators. This project was funded by the University of Kansas Strategic Initiative Grant Program.

Published articles from this research:

Fite, P., Hendrickson, M., Evans, S., Rubens, S., Johnson-Motoyama, M., & Savage, J. (2014). Associations between proactive and reactive subtypes of aggression and lifetime substance use in a sample of predominately Hispanic adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 23(6), 388-406. doi: 10.1080/1067828X.2012.748440

Fite, P. J., Gabrielli, J., Cooley, J. L., Haas, S. M., Frazer, A., Rubens, S. L., & Johnson-Motoyama, M. (2014). Hope as a moderator of the associations between common risk factors and frequency of substance use among Latino adolescents. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s10862-014-9426-1

Fite, P., Johnson-Motoyama, M., Rubens, S., & Peaches, A. (2013). Risk for being a teen parent: The influence of proactive and reactive aggression in a sample of Latino youth. Child Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s12187-013-9217-3

Prescribing Patterns of Psychotropic Drugs Among Child Medicaid Beneficiaries in the State of Kansas

Principal Investigators: Becci Akin, Stephanie Bryson, and Terry Moore

This project was funded from July 1st 2008 to June 30th 2009 by the Kansas Department for Social and Rehabilitation Services, Division of Mental Health. This study described psychotropic prescription patterns among the child Medicaid population in Kansas. Researchers determined annual prevalence rates, polypharmacy rates, and significant correlates of psychotropic medication prescriptions in a statewide sample of child Medicaid beneficiaries aged 0-17. Of 210,278 Medicaid enrolled youths, 18,820 had at least one paid claim for a psychotropic medication, yielding an annual prevalence rate of 9.0%. Most commonly prescribe drug classes, in rank order, were stimulants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Findings that demanded further inquiry included a high and growing prevalence of antipsychotic use, even among very young children; the presence of significant intraclass and interclass polypharmacy; high prevalence in the foster care population; and prescription patterns of non-mental health specialists, particularly among young children. The authors made three primary recommendations: 1) establish practice guidelines and protocols for prescribing psychotropic meds to children and adolescents; 2) disseminate evidence-based information; and 3) develop strategies for monitoring psychotropic meds to children and adolescents with a special focus on young children and children in foster care.

Rural Cultural Competency Project

Principal Investigators: Michelle Levy, AM; Cheryl Holmes, MPA

The purpose of this project was to explore the concept of rural cultural competency as it related to access to and delivery of health and social services. This project was supported by a grant from the REACH Healthcare Foundation that began in September 2013 and ended December 31, 2014.

Shared Decision Making for Adolescents Using Psychotropic Medications

Principle Investigator: Megan O’Brien, PhD, MPH

Research Staff: Michael Rosen, MS; Kyle Chapman, MA

This project was designed to facilitate engagement of youths in their medication treatment plans through improving medication literacy and enhancing attitudes toward medication and beliefs about decision self-efficacy. It was hypothesized that changes in these areas would empower youths to more fully engage with their medication provider and enhance self-advocacy behaviors. We tested the utility of a brief intervention to improve youths' understanding and knowledge of three critical treatment domains: identification of current medications, dose, and purpose. It was hypothesized that youths, via education and opportunity to voice their own needs and concerns with a medical provider, would gain an increased understanding of how to proactively help him/herself, engage in preventative shared health care decision making with their community providers, prevent and/or reduce further hospitalization/ long-term placement, and empower to utilize natural local supports as needed. This research was funded by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Division of Behavioral Health Services, and occurred from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.

TLC Teen and Mindful TLC

Principal Investigators: Steve Ilardi, PhD; Cheryl Holmes, MPA

Research Staff: Rick Ingram, PhD; Valerie Scheller, GRA; Christina Williams, GRA

The purpose of this study was to modify two adult promising practices and test them in order to create complementary modules for teens who have or are at risk of experiencing depression. The first module, called TLC Teen, integrated six components, each of which has research showing positive benefits related to depression: nutrition including omega-3, physical exercise, light exposure, enhanced social connections, habits of healthy sleep, and engaging activities to stop ruminating thought processes. The second module, called Mindful TLC, used elements of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to provide strategies that can help with depression. The work began in July 2012 and ended in June 2014. It was funded through a partnership with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.


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