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

Mission & Aims

ITRE Scholars

ITRE Scholars at the 2019 CMH Tampa Conference

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 focuses 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 is 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 Behavioral & Community Sciences and the College of Public Health) and Northern Arizona University.

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

Aim 1: By drawing on the success of ITRE we will 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: Build upon the success of ITRE’s 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 high-need populations including children and families of AI descent and Hispanic populations (including those who are members of immigrant 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.


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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.