Nursing school awarded $2.58M grant for research

by Cati Vanden Breul

The University’s School of Nursing announced last week that it has received a grant from the federal government to establish an adolescent health research training program.

The $2.58 million grant is the only one given to a nursing school under a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health initiative.

Doctoral candidates will research methods that will address adolescent health issues.

University faculty from the schools of nursing, medicine and public health will work with students on their research.

The grant will also fund fellowships for postdoctoral candidates to research adolescent health issues, Center for Adolescent Nursing Director Linda Bearinger wrote in an e-mail.

Bearinger wrote that being awarded the grant recognizes the University’s long history of excellence in adolescent health studies.

The program will be unique because it is specifically for adolescent health, said Lynn Bretl, public policy coordinator at the Healthy Youth Development and Prevention Center.

“Adolescents are usually lumped into pediatric care,” Bretl said.

Teenagers face different issues from younger children, she said, and are facing more serious issues today than ever before.

Teen pregnancy, suicide and violence are tough issues that adolescents face, she said.

“It’s interesting that they are a physically healthy group generally, but their (health) problems come out in other ways,” Bretl said.

Bearinger wrote that the research will address health disparities within adolescent groups.

Bretl said the disparity between black and white teen pregnancy is a big issue in the Twin Cities.

Black adolescents have a higher proportion of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases than white adolescents, Bretl said.

“This is a problem we need to address,” she said.

The program began in October and is funded through September 2007.