Institute Scholars Celebrate at The 27th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference


The USF Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health (Institute) Scholars celebrated successes and new opportunities at The 27th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference. The Institute’s inaugural cohort of Scholars presented their service-learning research projects alongside Academic Mentors and Community Agency Partners. During the past year, Institute Scholars assisted Community Agency Partners with evaluating fidelity of evidence-based practices (EBPs), identifying mechanisms to increase parental engagement, enlightening ways to improve reunification of families in the child welfare system, examining implementation of EBPs, and developing an Evidence-based Intervention Toolkit (eBIT) for school social workers. The inaugural cohort of Institute Scholars are in their last semester of the Graduate Certificate Program and were honored at a reception attended by Dr. Julianne Serovich, Dean of the USF College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, and Dr. Wilbur Milhous, the Associate Dean of Research from the USF College of Public Health (COPH). Institute Scholars are looking forward to sharing the results of their work at additional conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. Humberto López Castillo, Catherine Randall, and Tommi Rivers are members of the Institute Scholar team working with the Hillsborough County Schools Social Work office and were already honored at the University of South Florida Health Research Day as one of seven COPH Poster Awards. Humberto López Castillo, a second year doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health and an inaugural Institute Scholar described his experience in the Institute, “Being a part of the Institute has provided me wonderful opportunities to expand my research skills. It has been rewarding to work directly with Institute Scholars and mentors from different academic fields and with community-based providers. We not only learned translational research, but we also had the chance to work collaboratively and practice it in a real-world setting. We are very happy with the final products of the translational process and that these products are useful to our community partners.” Incoming Institute Scholars were able to meet with the inaugural class, Academic Mentors, Community Agency Partners, and National Mentors. Dr. David Satcher, Director of The Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) and former Surgeon General of the United States and Dr. Thomas H. Bornemann, Director of The Carter Center, both spent time with the incoming Institute Scholars to discuss challenges and opportunities in adolescent behavioral health.