Dr. Jennifer L. Frank to serve on National Academy of Sciences panel

Dr. Jennifer L. Frank
Dr. Jennifer L. Frank

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa-- Dr. Jennifer L. Frank, assistant professor of Education and senior research associate with the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and the Social Science Research Institute, was appointed to serve on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) consensus committee that will study ways to foster healthy mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) development among children and youth.

“I am honored to be part of this independent, non-partisan panel that will guide our efforts and funding to protect young people from MEB disorders into the next decade,” said Frank.

Frank was one of fifteen distinguished, multidisciplinary scientists chosen to serve on the committee to review and synthesize available research and make the next set of recommendations as a follow-on to the 2009 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities.

According to the 2009 landmark publication, almost one in five young people have one or more MEB disorders at any given time. The inaugural MEB report included a review of the scientific knowledge and recommendations for programmatic research, funding across multiple federal agencies, and increased funding for prevention.

“The 2009 study set the first agenda for research on the prevention of MEB disorders,” said Frank. “Now this new committee will identify gaps in research and what’s known about effective dissemination and implementation strategies, and recommend youth-prevention policy priorities for the Nation.”

 Frank, who was nominated by her peers, was selected because of her interdisciplinary research which draws from diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to understand the determinants of risk and resilience. Her work, which aligns with the domains of the new study, focuses on the development and evaluation of school-based prevention practices and effective mindfulness strategies to modify the ecology of risk (family-school-peer) from middle childhood to late adolescence. She also runs the “Lab for School-Based Prevention” at Penn State.

The NAS was formed by congress in 1863 to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. According to NAS, “panels make distinctive and indispensable contributions to the welfare of the nation by providing evidence-based counsel on complex questions in science, engineering and health. The results of the study process are intended to inform government decision making and increase public understanding and welfare."