KDHRC's initiatives are informative, compelling, and varied. They provide KDHRC with the foundation to achieve its mission to produce and disseminate creative, objective, and timely information to improve the health and well-being of the nation's youth, families, and communities. KDHRC's initiatives are funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies and organizations.
Select from the list below to view initiatives in KDHRC's four program areas.
Drug Abuse Education and Prevention
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
KDHRC is a core contributor to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (NYADMC). One of the largest social marketing efforts of its kind, the NYADMC is led by The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under congressional mandate.The campaign uses mass media and other public communications to reach youth ages nine through 18 with information about drugs of abuse, specifically marijuana.The goal of the campaign is to decrease youth drug use by 25 percent over the next five years.
Under subcontract from Draftfcb, KDHRC provides expertise in behavior change, social marketing, and substance abuse prevention for strategic planning of the campaign and development of related social marketing materials. In particular, KDHRC manages and contributes to the Media Campaign Advisory Team, a vast, multidisciplinary group of external experts that reviews advertising concepts, research strategies and instruments, and related reports for scientific soundness, defendability, and relevance to the target audience.
POP-D: Proper use of prescription drugs
To address the emerging public health problem of teen prescription drug abuse, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) granted KDHRC a project entitled Proper Use of Prescription Drugs (POP-D). Recent national surveys indicate that teen prescription drug abuse is increasing. In fact, 9 percent of all high school students report abuse of a prescription drug, and prescription drugs are the most commonly used drug among 12 and 13 year olds. In this project, KDHRC is constructing and evaluating a comprehensive kit for schools to implement a science education program on prescription and over-the-counter drugs. POP-D will contain a print curriculum/Teachers' Guide, student materials/CD-ROM, and parent education/outreach materials. We will evaluate the materials for their effectiveness in a two-group, controlled design, examining knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and drug use as our outcome measures. Not only do we anticipate that the kit will be useful for schools, teens, and parents, but the multifold evaluation will yield substantial primary data that will allow us to continue to contribute to the scientific literature on teen drug abuse.
Attitude Boost: Improving attitudes toward science
Attitude Boost is an innovative project to improve science literacy by
boosting attitudes toward science in elementary and middle school. This project
is funded by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Science literacy can have significant personal and societal value, because it can empower youth to think critically, understand, and apply scientific findings in their daily lives. Unfortunately, students in the U.S. perform significantly lower on science achievement tests than many of their peers internationally, and only 17 percent of adults in the U.S. can be considered scientifically literate.
Produced as multimedia materials for youth and an associated teacher implementation guide, Attitude Boost will increase enjoyment of science subjects, provide teachers with a time-efficient and effective way to increase student engagement in and performance on science subjects, and contribute to a scientifically literate society that can actively process and apply scientific information in everyday tasks. The project seeks to increase students' positive attitudes toward science, with the goal of improving scientific literacy and academic performance on science subjects, particularly those related to drug abuse education and prevention. Attitude Boost will be evaluated in a two-step process that examines its ability to improve science attitudes and the degree to which attitude changes translate into high scientific achievement and literacy.
The diversion of prescription (Rx) drugs by children and teens is a significant public health problem. Diversion includes giving, sharing, or selling Rx drugs from one's own prescription and sharing or selling Rx drugs that have been obtained from another source, such as from prescription bottles in the home. Diversion creates significant problems for schools. The safety of students may be compromised by these powerful drugs when students experience adverse reactions.
KDHRC received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop SecuRx.com, a website to help schools develop comprehensive prescription drug diversion prevention programs. SecuRx.com contains information for school administrators, school providers, and parents at two levels: middle school and high school.
Genetics for Kids
Rapid scientific advancements have pushed society to consider the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics and genomic research. Reaching students with engaging information about human genetic principles can help create a new generation with scientific literacy on a topic that may directly influence their personal decisions about health and well-being in the future.
To fill the need for this information, KDHRC developed Genetics for Kids, a standards-based and developmentally appropriate curriculum to improve genetic literacy in middle school students. This curriculum for 7th and 8th grade students features multimedia and print components. The curriculum provides scientific information on genetic principles and human genetic variation and discusses the legal, social, and ethical implications of this research. It supports teachers' instruction on these topics by providing materials that are easy-to-implement and scientifically rigorous.
The Brain Power curriculum series, developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), aims to educate children from Kindergarten through ninth grade about science, the brain and nervous system, and legal and illegal drugs. KDHRC was contracted to expand Brain Power by creating four multimedia, interactive, web-based games for the following grade groups: K-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade, and 6th-9th grade. KDHRC designed the games to supplement the Brain Power curriculum series with interactive information about the brain and the effects of legal and illegal drugs on neurotransmission.
The Brain Power games include:
- Braintropolis, for kindergarteners and 1st graders, allows users to create their own scientist and explore the function of the brain's cerebral cortex, cerebellum, limbic system, and brain stem.
- Neurotransmitter Knock-Out, for 2nd and 3rd graders, examines how nicotine in the brain affects normal neurotransmission.
- Commander Cranium, for 4th and 5th graders, follows Commander Cranium through the main areas of the brain as he battles the Mental Marauders and rescues his boss, Mega Brain.
- Mission: Neurotransmission, for 6th through 9th graders, allows users to see the effects of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, nicotine, and prescription painkillers on neurotransmission.
The games will be available for free on the NIDA website in 2012. The games will be for use independently or in conjunction with the Brain Power curriculum series.
Mind Over Matter: Updating NIDA science education materials
Under a contract from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), KDHRC expanded the Mind Over Matter science education materials. NIDA has developed numerous science education tools that it distributes at no cost to the public to improve science education and literacy in the U.S. Mind Over Matter is a crucial part of its outreach arsenal. Developed nearly 10 years ago, the original Mind Over Matter series targeted students in grades 5 through 9 and consisted of eight full-color, four-page magazines, each on a different illicit drug: steroids, opiates, nicotine, methamphetamine, marijuana, inhalants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. Mind Over Matter has been reprinted numerous times, and millions of copies have been distributed at no cost to schools in the U.S. KDHRC was contracted to expand the materials to include a Mind Over Matter magazine on prescription drugs for middle school students and to construct a Mind Over Matter interactive website for high school students.
Keys to Brain Power
KDHRC received funding to evaluate a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsored curriculum product entitled Keys to Brain Power! This CD-ROM-based product features six modules of interactive games on the topic of drugs, how drugs change the brain and body, and how scientists study drugs. The goal of this curriculum is to increase interest in science, further NIDA's science education goals, and provide information upon which students can make healthy, protective decisions about avoiding drug use. The target audience was 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
Using a mixed-methodological approach, KDHRC developed a comprehensive evaluation protocol that standardized curriculum implementation and data collection. We collected quantitative and qualitative data and analyzed them using bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques.
The evaluation results provide limited support for the effectiveness of this educational product and specific suggestions for its improvement. NIDA distributed up to 30,000 copies of this CD-ROM and copies of the print curriculum Brain Power! in the United States.
Who Wants to be a NIDA Neuroscientist?
Who Wants to be a NIDA Neuroscientist? is a web-based quiz game designed to educate middle school students about the brain, science, and how drugs change the brain. KDHRC developed the game for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as the cornerstone for its Brain Awareness Week outreach.
Brain Awareness Week is an international event organized by the Dana Alliance to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of neurological research. NIDA is strongly involved in this event and reaches out to students in the Washington, D.C. area with games and activities during this week.
KDHRC developed Who Wants to be a NIDA Neuroscientist? with extensive input from students in 5th through 8th grades. The game uses interactive Flash technology to engage students in information about the brain and the effect of drugs on the brain.
En Familia: An intergenerational approach to improving health literacy among and delivering health education to Latino families
Not only do Latinos constitute the fastest growing minority group in the country, but they also face significant health challenges. The reasons for Latino health disparities are manifold, and often compounded by the complexity of navigating the US health system and understanding health information.
With funding from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, KDHRC is developing En Familia (Inthe Family), an intergenerational health literacy and health education program for Latino families. En Familia aims to help families overcome these barriers by expanding traditional health education programming to include training in core health literacy. To do so, En Familia draws on the Latino concept of familism and engages teens, parents, and grandparents to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices.
Toda Promotora Clearinghouse: Building nonprofit capacity to use promotora programs
With funding from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, KDHRC will develop and evaluate the Toda Promotora Clearinghouse (TPC), an online information resource that will support community-based nonprofit organizations’ formulation, implementation, and evaluation of promotores programs to provide health information to underserved Latinos. Promotores programs use community health workers to conduct outreach for health promotion, prevention, and medical treatment, and there is increasing evidence that they improve health outcomes in Latino communities. Through the provision of centralized, scientifically-based information, TPC will build community-based nonprofit capacity to use of promotores programs effectively.
Familias Fuertes/Strong Families: Helping Latino families with a
child coping with cancer
With funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), KDHRC developed Familias Fuertes, a culturally-relevant outreach program, to provide education and support for Latino families coping with two different health situations: Latino families with a child diagnosed with pediatric cancer, and Latino families with a child who has a parent, caregiver, or other close family member with cancer. More specifically, Familias Fuertes includes a comprehensive training guide and related tools to facilitate a two-step process. First, community-based health organizations that provide direct services to Latinos at low or no cost use Familias Fuertes to recruit and train promotoras (or lay health workers) to conduct outreach with Latino families that are coping with cancer. Second, promotoras use Familias Fuertes to formulate effective outreach plans and to track and assess their outreach efforts with Latino families. The aim of this process is to build Latino families’ knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to cope with the stress from a cancer diagnosis and its treatment through improved family communication and better navigation of formalized medical systems.
Latino Outreach on Autism
National estimates suggest that as many as one in 150 children has autism. Early treatment can help these children function at their maximum potential, but on average, children from minority groups are diagnosed two to three years later than Caucasian children.
To address this disparity, KDHRC worked with the for Autism Research to develop culturally specific communication tools to reach Latino families with information about developmental milestones and the warning signs of autism. We used a promotora model, in which lay health workers were trained to provide information on child development to families with young children during community health outreach programs. More specifically, KDHRC developed a 5-module promotora training program and associated outreach tools, including a bilingual presentation flip-book and parent brochure on a magnet, that provide information on developmental milestones from age zero to five.
KDHRC implemented and evaluated the training with 15 promotoras. In the first month of outreach following the training, local promotoras reached more than 500 families in Northwest Georgia with information on child development and autism. Future trainings are scheduled for Washington, D.C. and other cities in the U.S.
CI School Toolkit: Helping children with cochlear implants enter
With funding from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), KDHRC is constructing the CI School Toolkit, a comprehensive set of materials that will help parents, teachers, and classmates of a child with a cochlear implant support learning.
Most children with these devices can function successfully in a classroom with hearing peers if customized educational accommodations are established. But creating an optimal learning environment for a child with a cochlear implant can be daunting, and school entry can be an anxious and demanding time for parents and teachers alike.
The CI School Toolkit will support the school entry process. Once developed, the materials will be evaluated for effectiveness with parents, teachers, and classmates in a multi-stage research study.
School TIME Toolkit: Supporting parents and teachers of chronically ill children with school absences
KDHRC received funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to develop and evaluate the School TIME Toolkit to support parents and teachers of elementary school-aged children who have a chronic illness and intermittent school attendance (CICISA). Parents and teachers of these children face the burden of navigating and securing school services and easing transitions into and out of school because of absences. The School TIME Toolkit aims to reduce this burden by increasing parents’ and teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy toward managing the educational needs of CICISA, providing parents and teachers with practical skills to understand, navigate, and advocate for school services, while decreasing their stress. Armed with these improved skills and lower stress, teachers and parents will then contribute to a more supportive school environment for CICISA characterized by greater access to school.
ASDNet: Supporting caregivers of people with autism spectrum
Caregivers of people with chronic medical conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, may be at high risk of poor physical and emotional outcomes. There is therefore a need for research to understand the unique stressors faced by these caregivers and for the development of customized interventions to provide support to them.
Under contract from the National Institutes of Mental Health, KDHRC developed and evaluated a prototype website entitled Navigate Autism that provides information, builds skills, and creates connections within the autism caregiver community. Navigate Autism features four mini courses on caregiving topics related to stress management, family dynamics, transitions, and research literacy. KDHRC based the prototype's content and design on extensive formative research conducted with experts and caregivers.
Atlanta Study: Understanding nonprofit organizations' use of social
In an era of decentralized health provision and managed care, community-based organizations have become key providers of health services, particularly to low-income residents. But recent public policy and economic changes have raised questions about the viability and sustainability of these organizations. To add clarity to this important public policy and public health issue, KDHRC has undertaken a large study of community-based health providers in the Atlanta metropolitan region to understand how these organizations have managed broad policy and environmental changes through the use of economic and programmatic means, advocacy, and social marketing.