Research Projects

Ongoing Projects

Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Project

The primary activity was the evaluation of the Campaign’s implementation of an evidence-based sexual health curriculum in Tulsa Public Schools. Additional evaluation activities included the development of survey to assess teen experiences in Tulsa healthcare clinics and participation in a cold call project to document clinic response to potential teen clients. Partnership with the Campaign has led to a successful grant with Youth Services Tulsa (YST) and Carrera for an intervention scale-up funded for the next five years.

Office of Adolescent Health Grant Evaluation

As mentioned above, the CFR will partner with lead agency YST, as well as the Campaign and Carrera programs, to evaluate objectives from the outcome goals set forth by this collaborative proposal.

Good Behavior Game Project

The CFR received funding from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to evaluate the program’s implementation at John Glenn Elementary in Oklahoma City.

Infant Sleeper project

The CFR has collaborated with the University of Northern Texas to implement a study designed to explore the sleep practices for infants at high risk of SIDS. The CFR will work with two Health Department programs (Children First and Healthy Start) to collect information regarding sleep practices and the use of a portable infant sleep space designed to increase sleep safely for at risk babies.

The Juntos Project

This project is a five-year effectiveness study of a program implemented by community members and funded through a university-community partnership. Juntos is a comprehensive program that develops resilience in Latino youth and their families by targeting parental involvement, academic achievement, life skills, peer affiliations, and family cohesion and communication.

For more information contact: Dr. Ronald Cox (

Co-Parenting for Resilience Program Evaluaton

Beginning in September of 2013 the study recruits 160 court mandated parental dyads that are divorcing to: assess initial efficacy of the new Co-Parenting for Resilience Program, test the feasibility of a new data collection model, and evaluate the impact of key program components on improving child well-being.

For more information contact: Dr. Ronald Cox ( Or, Dr. Matthew Brosi (

Tulsa Children’s Project

The Tulsa Children’s Project is a highly integrated set of interventions to maximize the outcomes associated with high-quality early childhood education for children living in poverty. Originally developed by an interdisciplinary team of research, clinical and policy faculty from OU-Tulsa, Harvard University and UT-Austin in partnership with Tulsa Educare, Inc. and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the program is currently in its fifth year. Interventions are designed to reduce the effects of toxic stress associated with poverty by promoting healthy mental and physical health among staff and parents, with ongoing professional development for Educare staff and adult education and workforce training programs for Educare parents.

Pathways to Student Success Project (PaSS)

The PaSS Project is a prospective population cohort study that follows students who were in the 7th grade in 2009 over five years. The primary purpose of the study is to look at multiple factors that are associated with high school dropout among disadvantaged youth within the Oklahoma City public school system.

For more information contact: Dr. Ronald Cox (; Dr. Michael Merten (; Dr. Karina Shreffler (; or Dr. Kami Schwerdtfeger (

Family and Youth Development Project

The focus of this investigation is to examine predictors (e.g., parenting, peer relationships) and outcomes (e.g., child depression, substance use) of emotion regulation among adolescents from high-risk, low-income families. Given that adolescence is a key transitional period, the results from this project will provide valuable insight into adaptive and maladaptive pathways of at-risk youth.

For more information contact: Dr. Amanda Morris ( or Dr. Michael Criss (

Moms and Tots Study

This study investigates typical discipline episodes between mothers and toddlers to detect patterns that influence the risk of problem development. So far, verbal hostility is particularly detrimental in increasing symptoms related to most DSM diagnoses, whereas concrete nurturing actions reduce some of those symptoms.

For more information contact: Dr. Robert Larzelere (

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

This study is a random sample of adolescents and their parents from Tulsa Public Schools that links responses from parents and their teens to examine individual, family, and environmental correlates of adolescent precocious and high risk sexual behavior. The study also examines parental and youth attitudes toward sex education in school to inform policy and other social interventions.

For more information contact: Dr. Ronald Cox (

Promoting Parental Involvement in EDUCARE

This study examines factors that contribute to the retention of families in EDUCARE programs and what changes might enhance the effectiveness of the parental involvement component of the EDUCARE programs in Tulsa.

For more information contact: Dr. Michael Merten ( or Dr. Ronald Cox (

Past Projects

CAPE 2 project- past

The Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE2) project is designed to help communities gain deeper knowledge of, and access to tools that build effective local prevention and treatment strategies addressing mental and substance use disorders. The CFR has been responsible for facilitating participation of the selected Tulsa cohort for this study.

Latino Youth Development Grant- past

The goal of the Latino Youth Development in an Agricultural Context study is to determine the developmental consequences of exposure to agricultural work for Latino adolescents between the ages of 13-17. Data was collected from 146 surveys of Latino youth (60 in Tulsa, 52 in Tahlequah, and 34 in Muskogee), urine samples from 61 adolescents and sweat patches from 22 youth. Also, we asked youth to provide urine samples for 7 consecutive days and approximately 90% of youth returned all 7 samples.

The Tulsa 100 (T1C) Family Study

Beginning in November 2012, the T1C Family Study will recruit 100 families from low-income families in Tulsa to: describe the sleep, physical activity, and dietary quality of adolescents in impoverished families in Tulsa; and delineate the individual, familial, and environmental factors  associate with adolescent's sleep, physical activity, and dietary quality.  

For more information contact Dr. Joseph G. Grzywacz (

Minding the Gap project

The goal for this program is to improve academic success among children of impoverished families who prefer to keep their children out of early childhood education programs. The children living in these conditions are not well equipped for kindergarten, especially if they are not placed in a high quality early childhood education facility. These same children who would benefit the most from these facilities are the same children who are less likely to be enrolled in these programs due to strong cultural preferences for home care or family care among ethnicities.

Fathers Count Project

This project investigates the role of parents (emphasizing fathers or father figures), neighborhoods, and peers in fostering resilience in African American and Latino youth. The results will be used to inform and guide program development and policy.

For more information contact: Dr. Carolyn Henry (

The Firefighter Study

This study increases our understanding of firefighters and explores how perceptions of their job (i.e. danger, trauma, stress, support systems, etc.) and work policies and procedures (i.e., long, rotating shifts, etc.) affect individual and family well-being. The study focuses on perceptions of relationship quality and stability, parenting quality, work-family conflict, sleep quality, depression, and life satisfaction.

For more information contact Dr. Karina Shreffler (

FiSH Project

The Families and Schools for Health (FiSH) project examines several psychoeducational programs designed to treat/prevent childhood obesity and studies how these programs affect factors influencing the development of child obesity. Longitudinal descriptive data has been collected on 1200 rural children from 1st through 4th grade.  Data on child and family risk and resilience such as parent and child health-related behaviors, parenting behaviors, family interaction, child emotional and behavioral health, child emotion regulation, and child peer interaction is being analyzed and used to inform further program development.

For more information contact: Dr. Amanda Harrist ( or Dr. Glade Topham (

Youth and Families in Transitional Housing Project

This study explores identity development, future aspirations, and personal schema of recently-homeless youth in Tulsa and the effectiveness of the TAP program. Tests revealed increases in program participants' ability to develop goals, as well as confidence in themselves and in their futures. The program participants were more knowledgeable about their community and had better relationships with their parents.

For more information contact: Dr. Michael Merten (