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  • Projects

  • ADAPT: Developing a social network substance use prevention intervention for youth experiencing homelessness

    Principal Investigator


    Youth experiencing homelessness report elevated rates of substance-use; effective substance-use prevention programs are urgently needed to mitigate substance-use among this at-risk population. Social network influences (e.g., peer relationships) have been considered critical in establishing more protective substance use norms. However, translating evidence-based methods that utilize a peer-approach into sustainable programs has been difficult. No peer-based interventions designed specifically for youth and young adults who experience homelessness are currently listed in the SAMHSA Evidence Based Programs (EBP) registry, nor any that have been translated into routine practice for young people experiencing homelessness in the settings they frequent (e.g., shelters). This  study involves engaging community constituents (i.e., homeless youth, drop-in center providers, and substance use prevention experts) in Denver to assist in the adaptation of an evidence-based intervention (EBI) developed for use with other populations to reduce substance use behaviors and make it applicable to youth who experience homelessness.

  • Homeless Youth Risk and Resilience Study: A Multisite Perspective

    Principal Investigator (Multiple multisite PIs)


    REALYST is a national collaborative of academic and community partners that uses research to inform innovative policies, programs and services aimed at ending homelessness and housing instability among young people. We believe that understanding youth homelessness helps communities create effective solutions for preventing it.


  • Digital Connections: Understanding Social Media Interactions among Youth who Experience Homelessness

    Principal Investigator


    The purpose of this study is to get a better understanding of how youth use Facebook, the topics they discuss and share, and how others respond to them. We also want to understand how these interactions influence youth's engagement in sexual risk behaviors, substance use, and experiences of victimization. We hope to use this information to develop social media interventions to help unstably housed youth avoid negative outcomes.


  • GUIDE: An Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithm Guided Social Network Based Intervention


    There is a great desire both among academics and our community-based collaborators to utilize network-based prevention programs to reduce risk taking among homeless youth. This interest is driven by the relatively low cost of these programs, coupled with an understanding that such programs might engage homeless youth who are transient, hidden and distrustful of adults. This represents an exciting convergence around the desirability and probable acceptability of network-based prevention. What remains unclear is how and with whom to implement these programs. This study will utilize AI to guide the implementation of a peer-based prevention program for youth who experience homelessness.




  • Asking for Change: A Photovoice Study with Homeless Youth

    Co-Principal Investigator


    This study will use an innovative visual technique known as “Photovoice” to study the process of youth engagement, trust development, and coalition building while at the same time identifying the issues that homeless youth find most pressing in their lives. Thus, this project will inform future intervention research by identifying areas of need and understanding how to engage youth around those areas. However, the project is even more innovative for its social justice implications. In empowering youth through providing them leadership opportunities and a voice to share their perspectives, the project will result in social action to address a significant problem of youths’ choosing.

  • Social Network Norms and HIV Risk among Homeless Youth in Los Angeles, California

    Principal Investigator


    Dissertation Title: “Social Network Norms and HIV Risk Behaviors among Homeless Youth”

    This study used a sociometric approach using whole network data to examine norms among homeless youth in Los Angeles, California. The main objective of this study was to assess quantitatively the association between perceived social network norms, social network characteristics, and HIV risk behaviors among homeless youth. The study will lead to new directions in HIV prevention interventions, specifically what network-level interventions could be adapted in the context of the homeless youth population, and examining the feasibility of online technology as a potential mechanism through which network interventions can be delivered.

This portfolio last updated: 18-Jan-2023 2:00 PM