Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse (ITRE)



Dr. Tom Massey leading a professional seminar with ITRE Scholars.

Course Descriptions

There are 15 credit hours required for the Graduate Certificate in Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health Program.

Course I: PHC 6539 Foundations in Adolescent Behavioral Health (3 credit hours)

This course focuses on adolescent behavioral health through a detailed examination of adolescent developmental risk and resilience, issue selection and intervention design, and health inequities that affect the lives of adolescent populations at-risk for drug use and mental disorders. The background, history, philosophy and theories of translational research and implementation science will be explored, along with evidence-based practice in the hierarchy of clinical and services research. Further, the benefits of service learning with perspectives on adolescent behavioral health and implementation science is highlighted.

Course II: PHC 6728 Translational Research Methods in Adolescent Behavioral Health (3 credit hours)

This course provides an overview of quantitative and qualitative research methods, measurement models, and skills of research relevant to translational research and the core principles of implementation sciences and the transfer/translation of knowledge from the research setting to applied practice settings. Course material places special emphasis on skills of research for developing translational researchers and strategies for being culturally competent and in the mediation, cultivation, and development of translational research skills and the implementation of evidence-based practices. Emphasis is placed on service needs of children and adolescents with substance use and other co-occurring mental and physical disorders.

Course III: PHC 6729 Advanced Research Education in Adolescent Behavioral Health (3 credit hours)

This course focuses on advanced topics in research education as it pertains to implementation of best practices in community settings, community partnerships, and community-based participatory research, in child and adolescent behavioral health. It will also address: 1) organizational readiness to adopt evidence-based practices in child and adolescent behavioral health, 2) evidence-based practice fidelity, sustainability, evaluation, and dissemination of evaluation outcomes, and 3) translational research policy and practice in adolescent behavioral health.

Service Learning Courses

PHC 6946: Service Learning in Adolescent Behavioral Health I (2 credit hours)

This three course sequence is designed to introduce students to the practice of implementation science through hands on experience with a behavioral health organization working with children and adolescents. In SL1, students will become familiar with the agency’s operations, their populations of focus, their use of EBPs, and their capacity to implement and/or improve the provision of evidence based services.  Students will work as partners with the agency to identify an implementation oriented research, evaluation, or policy project, negotiate appropriate methodology, develop the project proposal, and complete required IRB activities.  Students will be supported in their efforts by Academic and Peer Mentors, Community Partners, and the ITRE Executive Committee.   

PHC 6947: Service Learning in Adolescent Behavioral Health II (2 credit hours)

In SL2, students will implement the research/evaluation projects conceptualized in the SL1 course. Based on their project proposal, student teams will work with the agency’s staff, clients, and community members to collect qualitative and/or quantitative data to fulfill their project aims.  This time will also be used to refine their written proposal and develop the introduction, background, and methods sections of their manuscript. As data collection is completed, student teams will begin to analyze their data.   

PHC 6948: Service Learning in Adolescent Behavioral Health III (2 credit hours)

During SL3, students will complete the analysis of their data and will prepare and present their findings to community partners and at the Annual Research & Policy Conference for Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health.  As the culmination of their efforts, students will complete a manuscript for peer-reviewed publication.  Throughout the three course sequence, resources and supports will be provided through seminars, guest lectures, and  ITRE READI talks.

Coursework Timeline

The Institute occurs over four semesters. Program participants earn nine graduate credit hours from coursework and six credit hours from the service learning courses and project.

In the first semester of the program, participants participate in a scholar orientation. Scholars then attend the Annual National Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health in March where they meet with meet potential community partners and academic mentors. Institute scholars also attend the conference a year later (in the fourth semester of the program), where they present their completed Service Learning Projects. Following the second conference, remaining course hours are dedicated to the preparation of manuscripts for submission and publication in peer-reviewed journals. Participants are strongly encouraged, with the assistance of their mentors, to prepare a grant application for implementation of evidence-based practices in a community setting.

Course Timeline


The Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25DA031103.