Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Research

The goal of researchers in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults ages 12-21. The focus is to help adolescents and providers to address issues that emerge in the context of illness, treatment, behavior and development.

The division has received funding from local, state and national resources, including the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Center of Excellence for Tobacco Use and Cessation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical companies. Collaborative projects have been conducted with the Pediatric Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Hematology/Oncology, and with faculty from the University of Pittsburgh departments of Psychiatry, Gynecology and General Internal Medicine, as well as the graduate schools of Social Work and Public Health.

Among our current research is the NIH-funded Longitudinal Emerging Adulthood Program (LEAP) study, which is a general health and wellness study examining how teenagers’ healthy behaviors and risky behaviors change as they transition into young adulthood.

The division’s Bone Mineral Density study is a randomized clinical trial that compares the effect of two oral contraceptive pills on bone mineral density in healthy adolescent females over a 12-month period. This multi-site pharmaceutical study engages Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and 40 other sites across the country.

Other recent research within the division includes: a study of the effectiveness of an oral contraceptive pill to reduce menstrual cramps; a comparison of counseling approaches to decrease sexual risk behaviors; an evaluation of primary care-based treatment of depression; an investigation of the efficacy of a new oral contraceptive pill regimen; a study of bone density in long-term depot medroxyprogesterone users; a survey of physician's patterns of prescribing extended-cycle contraception; and descriptions of young women’s knowledge and attitudes toward newer contraceptive options.

On-going interests include positive health behavior change, the immune response in chlamydial cervicitis, the use and effects of hormonal contraception in adolescents, and smoking cessation.