Vangie Foshee, PhD and school alumnus tapped to evaluate Building Healthy Teen Relationships Program

July 14, 2008

Alumna Olivia Silber Ashley (PhD, 2000, HBHE) from Research Triangle Institute and Dr. Vangie Foshee, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, were awarded $2.5 million in June 2008 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate RWJF’s Building Healthy Teen Relationships Initiative.

This important initiative, developed by RWJ, was developed to address the need for more broad-based community efforts to prevent adolescent relationship violence, with the ultimate goal of preventing intimate partner violence.

“We’re especially delighted to have gotten support for this project because of the magnitude of the effort,” said Dr. Foshee. “RWJ is funding as many as 10 sites across the United States to Specifically, the project will focus on decreasing relationship violence and increasing positive, protective relationship skills among kids in their tweens and early teens (ages 10-14). It’s a rare opportunity to be able to measure the impact of such a significant effort – one that is aimed at multiple social levels – and we’re excited about the challenge.”

Each of the community based projects that will be evaluated by Drs. Ashley and Foshee will focus on using evidence-based practices for relationship violence prevention within and outside of schools. To do this, projects will engage peers, teachers, mentors, and families as well as community members and stakeholders in the promotion of safe and respectful youth relationships, even as they work to change policies and practices in the community in support of healthy relationships. The initiative will also rely on social marketing strategies to promote positive social norms related to relationships.

“Working on this project as a Co-Investigator will be especially rewarding,” said Dr. Foshee, “because Dr. Ashley is both a national leader in this area and an alumna from our program.”

Drs. Silber and Foshee will be conducting an implementation, effectiveness, community awareness, and sustainability evaluation of this important national initiative.