ITRABH > Mission and Aims

Mission and Aims

The mission of the Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse (ITRE) is to develop, cultivate and disseminate an innovative model of research education that addresses best practices for translational research in the field of adolescent behavioral health as it relates to substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

The ITRE will focus on training scholars in translational research methods, policies and perspectives, and the practical skills of translational research. Special attention is afforded to childhood precursors to drug abuse and mental disorders in middle to late adolescence, such as early onset substance use and externalizing disruptive behavior disorders.

A cross-disciplinary collaborative approach will be used with special attention to evidence-based practice, translational research and adolescents as an at-risk population. The Institute is a collaborative effort between local adolescent-serving community agencies and two colleges at the University of South Florida: the College of Public Health and the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

In order to achieve this mission, ITRE will focus on five specific aims:

Aim 1: Develop an online, distance learning platform that expands the capacity and reach of the program to regional and national audiences. The ITRE’s graduate certificate program will underscore clinical treatment and services research and the requisite components of implementation, fidelity, evaluation and sustainability of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in community settings.

Aim 2: Provide an innovative service learning experience by enabling long distance and individualized service learning environments that prepare researchers on issues of child and adolescent drug abuse and other co-occurring disorders. The program provides for team mentoring that supports service learning and the practical translation of evidence-based programs to community settings.

Aim 3: Enhance our successful recruitment of minority researchers by broadening our recruitment strategy to target behavioral health researchers with interest in working with at-risk and high-need populations including children and families of American Indian descent and those who are members of immigrant, refugee and migrant farmworker groups. We will further enrich the curriculum to ensure proficiency in issues of cultural competence and health disparities.

Aim 4: Identify and integrate innovative evaluation methods for the assessment of distance learning and service learning programs in order to evaluate the impact of the project with regard to the learning outcomes and career trajectories of participants. Utilize evaluation methods to assess the implementation of EBPs in community settings, the capacity for addressing the behavioral health needs of minority, under-served and at-risk populations, and the capacity for new, collaborative research efforts among academic researchers and clinical practitioners in community settings.

Aim 5: Disseminate program findings through presentation of participant projects at the ITRE-sponsored annual regional and national conferences, publishing articles on program outcomes in peer reviewed journals and the ITRE website, and highlighting program achievements through a blog, social media and/or an e-newsletter.