Preventative Health Services for Adolescents & Young Adults

Program Focus

Improving health by promoting adolescent vaccination and preventive services

Our team conducts research on a preventive health services for adolescents and young adults, with particular attention to vulnerable groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer/questioning youth; homeless youth; and young people living in rural areas. Key areas of focus include behavioral, public health, and health services approaches to increasing adolescent and young adult vaccination, particularly vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and to improving young people’s receipt of quality preventive services.

Current Studies

  • Outsmart HPV
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Other Projects
  • Outsmart HPV

    HPV vaccination has the potential to prevent multiple types of cancer, including anal cancer which disproportionately affects young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM). 

    Conducted with Dr. Paul Reiter (multi-PI) at Ohio State University this project seeks to comprehensively evaluate Outsmart HPV, an innovative mobile health (mHealth) HPV vaccination intervention for YGBMSM. Findings from the pilot trial of Outsmart HPV (R21 CA194831; 2016-2018), suggest that the intervention has high levels of acceptability and showed promising increases in HPV vaccination among intervention participants. The current study will allow us to examine intervention efficacy and examine through an RCT with about 2,000 YGBMSM 18-25 in the U.S.

    Outsmart Desktop Action Plan

    This study is a collaboration with: Paul Reiter, Mira Katz, Abigail Shoben, and Electra Paskett at The Ohio State University; Jose Bauermeister at the University of Pennsylvania; and the Center for Health Communication Research at the University of Michigan.

    Funded by the National Cancer Institute (R37 CA226682; McRee & Reiter, Multi-PIs).

  • Adolescent Health Services

    Preventive Health Services for Adolescents in Rural Areas

    Although parents are key partners for adolescent health and health care, time alone between adolescents patients and their healthcare providers an opportunity to discuss psychosocial risks and sensitive issues and can help youth become increasingly responsible for their own health. Youth living in rural areas face elevated health risks and substantial barriers to quality care.

    Through the 2019-2024 core research project for the Healthy Youth ▪ Development Prevention Research Center, out team seeks to work with community partners to develop and determine the feasibility and acceptability of intervention to support clinics in rural areas in providing quality adolescent care while also  in engaging parents.

    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (U48 DP000063; Sieving (Center PI) & McRee (Core Research PI)

    Patient talking with provider

    Confidential Adolescent Sexual Health Services (CASH)

    Key to all healthcare services, confidentially is particularly important in the delivery of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services to adolescents.

    Led by Dr. Renee Sieving in the School of Nursing, this project aims to examine the provision of time alone with a clinicians and confidential SRH services to adolescents ages 11-17. Specifically, this projects seeks to:

    • identify barriers and facilitators to confidential SRH services through in-depth qualitative interviews with providers, parents, and adolescents in Minnesota;
    • explore the perspectives of primary care providers regarding adolescent confidentiality, and SRH services through focus groups with a national sample of clinicians; and
    • describe attitudes, motivations, barriers and facilitators to quality adolescent SRH services through surveys with a national sample of adolescent/parent dyads.

    This study is a being conducted with Renee Sieving (PI) and Chris Mehus at UMN in collaboration with John Santelli and Marina Catallozzi at Columbia University; Jonathan Klein at the University of Illinois—Chicago; and Julie Gorzkowski and Krtistin Kaseeska at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (U48 DP005022-04S5; Sieving, PI).

  • Other Projects

    We are involved in a variety of other projects examining adolescent health, HPV vaccination, sexual and reproductive health, and cancer prevention. Current projects include:

    • Mobile coaching to support clinicians in effectively responding to parent concerns about HPV vaccination (PI: Gilkey)
    • Attitudes and beliefs about COVID-19 vaccination
    • Sexual health and protective behaviors among homeless and runaway youth
    • HPV vaccination and cancer communication among immigrant populations in the U.S.
    • Transition from pediatric to adult health services among young people living with HIV in Uganda (PI: Saftner)
    • Women’s preferences for decision-making about cervical cancer prevention

     O'Brien Presentation at PRESS Manami Presentation at Research Day

    At left, Adolescent Medicine fellow, Janna Gewirtz O’Brien (with Annie-Laurie McRee), presents her research on mental health among homeless and runaway youth at the 2019 Pediatric Research Education and Scholarship Symposium. At right, Manami Bhattachayra, doctoral student in Health Policy & Management, presents research on the role of nativity in HPV infection at the 2018 School of Public Health Research Day.

Training & Fellowship Opportunities

We have opportunities for students of all levels to get involved in research!

DoGPAH is home to Interdisciplinary Fellowship Programs that bring together a cadre of learners who lend their disciplinary perspective to the intensive shared fellowship experience. Several funding sources support the programs and also provide a range of fellowship focus options. 

  • Interdisciplinary Research Training in Child & Adolescent Primary Care
  • Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)

Fellows in these programs have the opportunity to work with faculty on current projects, including those on adolescent and young adult preventive services and vaccination with Dr. McRee.

Other programs through the University of Minnesota to get involved in research and potentially work with Dr. McRee or other DoGPAH faculty include: the Cancer Disparities T32 Training Program (for doctoral students and postdocs), offered through the Program in Health Disparities Research; the McNair Scholars Program; the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP); and the Pathways to Research Program (PReP; for undergraduate students) and Advanced PReP (for doctoral students), both of which are administered through the University’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Dr. McRee also regularly has unfunded opportunities for students and other trainees to participate in research projects.

 Garbiela Research Day Presentation Pruitt PRESS Presentation

At left, LEAH pre-doctoral fellow, Gabriella Lazalde, presents her poster on the role  of dentists in HPV vaccination at the 2017 School of Public Health Research Day. At right, LEAH pre-doctoral nursing fellow, Kelsey Pruitt, presents her research on  communication with sexual partners about safer sex at the 2018 Pediatric Research Education and Scholarship Symposium.