Shaping Programs, Changing Lives

Kids on a wall

Over the past two decades, our research has broadly focused on the effects of school, family, community-based and multi-level prevention and promotion programs. We have evaluated two premier community-based programs, PROSPER and Communities that Care (CTC), and are now examining the effects of Evidence to Success.  At the school level, we have examined preschool and elementary age programs (PATHS & REDI), as well middle school and high school programs, to reduce early substance use. The Center has pioneered the study of programs for new parents (Family Foundations) as well as for parents of teens (SFP: 10-14). We have also led larger-scale trials that test comprehensive multi-component models for children identified as having early aggression (e.g., Fast Track).

With college students and adults we have developed programs to reduce risky drinking, substance abuse, skin cancer and health-related behaviors (PRO-Health Lab). A recent emphasis is our PEACE (Promoting Empathy and Compassion in Education) initiative, which focuses on research, teaching and outreach about mindfulness, caring, and compassion, for families of teens, teachers and other caregivers, and youth in the transition to adulthood.

A central emphasis of the Center is examining factors that lead school, family, and community programs to be sustained by local funding, long after basic research has been completed.  One of our largest projects, the EPISCenter, is a Pennsylvania-based, wide-scale technical assistance initiative that has served more than 50,000 youth and thousands of families.  This unique effort is funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to disseminate programs and knowledge, improve behavior and attitudes, reduce risk for poor outcomes such as violence and recidivism, and overall enhance community health.

To see what we currently are working on or our past research, visit our Projects page.