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Jan Wallander

Professional Title: 
Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology
We initiated a longitudinal cohort study funded by CDC, named Healthy PassagesTM, where 5,148 children ages 10-11 were enrolled and followed over 3 assessments until ages 15-16, with a very high 86% retention across 5 years. As a whole, Healthy PassagesTM addresses health and development during adolescence broadly, and makes at least 3 major unique contributions: We examine: (1) all the major threats to the development, health, and QOL during adolescence, including substance use (tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs), sexual risk behaviors, violence and aggressive behavior, emotional dysfunction and suicide, injury, and obesity-related physical activity and nutritional intake; (2) a diverse set of potential influences on these health issues across a range of domains from the individual to the contemporary culture to which youth are exposed; and (3) disparities in health among the three major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. (Black, Latino, White). Using these very rich data, we have thus far published 25 articles in peer review journals. Most recently we have focused on the three themes: • What disparities in health and QOL are present when in adolescent development of diverse youth and what risk and protective factors appear to influence any disparities? • What factors influence disparities in obesity? Are different processes more important for obesity in different groups? • Are there disparities in health risk behaviors (e.g., substance use, emotional dysfunction, sexual activity) and what risk and protective factors appear to influence any disparities?