Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Research

The goal of researchers in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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 CDC-funded Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) study, is a randomized controlled trial to test whether using middle school coaches to talk to their male athletes helps to increase recognition of adolescent relationship abuse and ultimately reduce violence against women and girls. This program has been shown to be successful with high school male athletes. Additional randomized controlled trials in the Division include Engendering Healthy Masculinity (EHM), which talks to adolescent boys about respect, nonviolence, and healthy sexuality, and the College Health Center-based Alcohol and Sexual Violence Intervention, which aims to reduce alcohol-related sexual violence on college campuses.

 Supporting Our Valued Adolescents (SOVA) is a research project that aims to study how to help young people with depression and anxiety. SOVA connects depressed teens to one another and parents of depressed teens to one another on secure websites (separate for teens and parents) that are moderated by trained behavioral health specialists. We are also conducting a parent engagement survey to help parents identify adolescent health topics (e.g., safe sex practices, substance use, etc.) which they have difficulty discussing with their teenage children. These surveys help providers to identify resources to offer to parents to help them discuss these health topics with their teen.

More information about our ongoing research studies is available in our Clinical Studies section.