Related Training Experiences

Off-Campus Research Practicum Training

Support is provided for students to visit, observe, and participate in research activities in the field. Off-campus experience includes field sites of Penn State researchers as well as placement in agencies that offer unique opportunities for prevention and methodological research. Because of the large number of ongoing trials and developmental research projects there are numerous opportunities for students to have both urban and rural field experiences. The PRC has established a sub-center in Harrisburg, PA. The Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development serves as a research/data collection unit for the various projects conducted in this urban area. This includes projects on preschool children (REACH); school-aged children (HOPE, funded by SAMSHA; PATHS to Success); and adolescents (character training, Harrisburg City Schools). In addition, the PRC, along with colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, have established the Universities Children’s Policy Collaborative (UCPC) that is also based in Harrisburg. UCPC provides applied research and policy analysis to state, regional, and federal agencies and legislative groups on how research findings can inform policy and decision making. Examples of 5 reports by UCPC on the future of early childhood in Pennsylvania can be found at Early Childhood Publications and UCPC.

In addition, the PRC has ongoing research in both the Philadelphia and Baltimore areas in which students can participate. A unique characteristic of Penn State is its long history of research on rural populations––a population that presently shows the highest rate of early substance abuse among U.S. teens and contains approximately one third of all poor children in America. Three major projects currently involve rural populations. First, the Family Life Project is a large-scale developmental study of risk and protective factors of rural children in America (funded by NICHD and NIDA). Second, PROSPER (shared with Iowa State University and supported by NIDA) is a clinical trial involving over 10,000 youth in 28 rural locations. Third, Head Start/REDI (supported by NICHD) is a RCT examining new curricular models to increase social competence and school readiness and occurs in three urban and rural locations in Pennsylvania. Students will have access to field experiences in all settings under the supervision of the PAMT faculty.

International Research Training

A limited number of students will have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors who conduct international research related to substance use prevention. Faculty members have strong international contacts and NIH-funded research that offer unique research opportunities for fellows. Strong collaborations, including regular involvement of graduate students, have been built with researchers in South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Croatia. For example, NIDA has funded a randomized trial of a drug and HIV prevention program in Cape Town, South Africa.

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