State of the Science 2018

The Research & Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures (Pathways RTC) at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon held its 2018 State-of-the-Science Conference in conjunction with the 31st Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, March 4–7, 2018.

Conference Activities

  • This document outlines activities undertaken in coordination with conference events.


  • Peer Support for Youth and Young Adults who Experience Serious Mental Health Conditions: State of the Science

    Janet Walker, Caitlin Baird, & Mary Beth Welch

    Peer support for youth and young adults who experience serious mental health conditions (SMHCs) is rapidly growing in popularity as an addition to the mental health service array in communities around the United States. This brief reviews the research literature that bears on the topic surrounding peer support, describes how current work at Pathways RTC is helping to build new knowledge about peer support, and outlines implications for a research agenda going forward.

  • Building Competencies and Skills among Service Providers Working with Young People who Experience Serious Mental Health Conditions: State of the Science

    Janet Walker, Pauline Jivanjee, Eileen M. Brennan, & Leigh Grover

    This paper explores what is currently known about the most promising strategies for increasing providers' capacity to deliver effective behavioral health services and supports. The paper also describes how this information has been—or could be—applied to the design of cutting-edge approaches for building skills and competencies among providers that work with young people who experience serious mental health conditions.

  • Assessing the Meaningful Inclusion of Youth Voice in Policy and Practice: State of the Science

    Jennifer Blakeslee

    This review synthesizes the state-of-the-science regarding how to support meaningful participation of young people in organizations and systems, closing with a review of existing assessment tools and the introduction of two new measures for agency- and system-level self-assessment of the conditions that support the meaningful inclusion of youth voice.

  • Social Network Enhancement Strategies to Address Limited Support Networks in Young Adulthood: State of the Science

    Jennifer Blakeslee

    This review focuses on populations where systems involvement is presumed to impact the size, strength, and supportiveness of social networks, including young people who have experienced out-of-home placement in foster care, juvenile justice, or residential treatment.

  • Mitigating Early Loss of Community Participation in Early Psychosis Services: State of the Science

    Tamara Sale, Dora Raymaker, Mariam Rija, Veronica Gould, Christina Wall, & Ryan Melton

    This article describes how interventions like EASA Connections that are designed based on emerging research, and further include intervention recipients as co-creators in intervention development, may help increase participation in early psychosis treatment and retention of community participation over time, leading to better overall life outcomes.

  • A Screeching Halt: Family Involvement When a Youth with Mental Health Needs Turns 18: Commentary on State of the Science from a Family Perspective

    Jane Walker & Malisa Pearson

    FREDLA serves as the national representative and advocate for family-run organizations and their executive directors, and supports effective stewardship of family-run organizations focused on the well-being of children and youth with mental health, emotional or behavioral challenges and their families. In this article, FREDLA offers its perspective on priorities for future research.

  • The Role of Youth-Run Organizations in Improving Services and Systems for Youth and Young Adults: A Commentary on the State of the Science

    Brie Masselli & Johanna Bergan

    Youth MOVE National (YMN), a youth-run organization focused on improving services for youth and young adults by uniting the voices of individuals who have lived experience within those systems, offers its perspective on priorities for future research.

Project Summaries

  • Using a "Remote," Web-Based Training and Coaching Approach to Increase Providers' Skills for Working with Youth and Young Adults: Findings from the Achieve My Plan Training Study

    Janet Walker, Caitlin Baird & Mary Beth Welch

    This summary describes Achieve My Plan (AMP), an enhancement for existing interventions and programs that is designed to strengthen providers' skills in key areas that are typically needed for working successfully with youth and young adults. Specifically, AMP focuses on increasing providers' capacity for working with young people in ways that promote their acquisition of self-determination skills, ensure that care/treatment is based on their perspectives and priorities, and highlight and build on strengths in meaningful ways.

  • The AMP+ Skills Enhancement Training for Peer Support Providers

    Janet Walker, Caitlin Baird & Mary Beth Welch

    The existing research literature identifies a number of key challenges to successful implemention of the Peer Support Specialist (PSS) role for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. Among the top challenges are a lack of clarity regarding the role and its specific activities, and a lack of high-quality, developmentally appropriate training and coaching to support the role. Pathways RTC is exploring a response to these challenges by developing and testing an enhancement for the youth/young adult peer support role called AMP+.

  • Promoting Positive Pathways to Adulthood: Outcomes of an Online Training Program for Transition Service Providers

    Eileen M. Brennan, Pauline Jivanjee, Claudia Sellmaier, & Leigh Grover

    To improve outcomes for young people with mental health needs, transition service providers require competencies grounded in research, with training designed to support applications in practice. Increasingly online platforms have been used to deliver cost-effective, convenient, and engaging service provider training with a variety of learning approaches. Promoting Positive Pathways to Adulthood (PPPA) is a research-based 10-module online program developed to increase the competencies of transition service providers.

  • Youth/Young Adult Voice in Agency- and System-Level Advising and Decision Making: The Y-VAL and Y-VOC Assessments

    Janet Walker & Jennifer Blakeslee

    The Youth Voice at the Agency Level (Y-VAL) assessment focuses on the extent to which organizations have put into place specific, concrete types of support – including policies, processes, procedures, and other specific activities – in order to promote, support, and ensure the meaningful inclusion of youth/young adult voice in agency-level advising and decision making.

  • What Do Transition Service Providers Need to Know and Be Able to Do? Results of a National Survey of Training Needs and Preferences

    Pauline Jivanjee, Eileen M. Brennan, Leigh Grover, & Kristin Thorp

    To gain understanding of training service providers’ need in order to offer developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive, and evidence-supported services to young people with mental health needs, the Pathways Transition Training Partnership and Youth MOVE National conducted an online survey, Supporting You in Supporting Youth. In summer 2017, 254 service providers responded to questions about the importance of specific competencies and skills, perceived training needs, preferred training methods, and barriers to training participation.

Discussion and Research Agenda

  • Janet Walker, Nancy Koroloff, Eileen Brennan, Pauline Jivanjee, & Jennifer Blakeslee

    Pathways' State-of-the-Science Conference concluded with a discussion and debriefing session during which discussants and Pathways staff met to distill important themes from the Conference, and to outline a research agenda in several key areas. This document presents summaries of discussions and key elements of research agendas in each of these areas.


  • Pathways State-of-the-Science Youth and Young Adult Track

    This document lists information about the conference sessions (sessions by Pathways staff are highlighted).

  • Conference Participants

    This document provides biographical statements of conference discussants and staff.