UNH Center On Adolescence
Focuses On The Healthy Development Of Youth
Contact: Sharon Keeler
UNH Media Relations
Nov. 9, 2004
DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire Center on Adolescence,
formerly known as the Adolescence Resource Center, has named internationally
renowned scholar Nancy Guerra as co-director.
Guerra, who is also associate dean for research in UNH’s School
of Health and Human Services and College of Liberal Arts, will share
directing responsibilities for the Center on Adolescence with Kristine
Baber, UNH associate professor of family studies.
“This name change reflects our intensified focus on research
and our plan to become more regionally and nationally involved,”
says Baber, who has directed the center since it opened in 2002.
“We are very excited about Dr. Guerra’s association
with the center. She is an exceptionally accomplished researcher
and scholar who has been involved in national and international
projects focused on adolescents.”
Prior to joining UNH, Guerra was professor of psychology at the
University of California at Riverside. She has published extensively
on adolescent development and prevention of problem behaviors among
at-risk youth, and her work has been funded by an array of federal
agencies including the National Institute for Mental Health, the
National Institute for Child Development, and the Centers for Disease
Guerra will continue as principal investigator and director of the
Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention at UC-Riverside,
one of 10 centers of excellence across the United States funded
by the Centers for Disease Control. This center emphasizes prevention
of violence and youth problems among immigrant youth, links between
alcohol/substance use and youth violence, and the development of
community capacity and social capital as cornerstones of effective
communities that support healthy youth development. It also engages
physicians and health care practitioners in youth violence prevention
at the primary care level.
In addition to these grant-funded research projects, Guerra has
worked with the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, and the
Annie E. Casey Foundation to develop prevention planning and youth
service programs in communities across the United States. Internationally,
she has worked with World Bank and the Interamerican Development
Bank to facilitate program development and prevention of youth risk
behaviors in Jamaica, Chile, and Colombia, and is currently working
with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a nationwide
strategy for promoting healthy youth development and violence prevention.
The UNH Center on Adolescence aims to promote the healthy development
of young people and prevent the emergence of risky behaviors such
as violence and substance use. Its work is guided by the strategic
plan for adolescent health and well being developed last year in
collaboration with the New Hampshire Bureau of Maternal and Child
The center’s research activities focus on how to increase
youth engagement in productive activities, build competence and
character, and strengthen schools, families, and communities in
order to support healthy youth development. Emphasis is placed on
working collaboratively with these partners to evaluate and disseminate
information on best practices and to design innovative strategies
to address the needs of all youth, especially those most at-risk.
Research and service is focused on designing and implementing programs
for typically underserved populations, such as rural and immigrant
youth and their families.
The center also provides an opportunity for scholars from different
disciplines at UNH to interact in a synergistic manner to address
critical problems and solutions for youth.
In addition to co-directors Baber and Guerra, the center has a program
coordinator, Gretchen Bean, and 30 center associates—faculty
and staff from diverse disciplines in both the School of Health
and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts who are involved
in research, teaching, or programming related to adolescence.
According to Guerra, “such collaboration is essential for
addressing the complex needs of today’s youth.”
In her role as associate dean for research, Guerra will help advance
and coordinate faculty scholarship in the area of adolescence, as
well as help extend research findings to those working with youth
through the Center on Adolescence.
The UNH Center on Adolescence is located in Pettee Hall on the UNH
campus. You can learn more about the center at its Website at www.adolescence.unh.edu.