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Buckley awarded for ‘outstanding’ youth development research

Woman of color kissing daughter on cheek

The Society of Prevention Research presented the Nan Tobler Award for her work on healthy youth development.

Earlier this month the Society of Prevention Research awarded Pamela Buckley, associate research professor at the Institute of Behavioral Science, with the Nan Tobler Award for Review of the Prevention Science Literature for her research contributions to the field, including publications based on data collected through the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development initiative. 

“I am honored to receive this award and thank my colleagues, including the Blueprints staff and members of the Blueprints advisory board, for collaborating on a series of research synthesis projects using data recorded in the Blueprints database that I believe will help inform the field of prevention science in significant ways,” said Buckley, the principal investigator of the initiative.

Blueprints is a globally recognized online registry of evidence-based interventions for people 25 and under. These fall under a wide range of disciplines, including criminal justice, child welfare, public health, mental health, education, labor-employment and more. 

“Dr. Buckley’s literature review has contributed to the emphasis of the importance of ensuring that evidence-based interventions are not only based on sound science but are also readily accessible and transparently presented to users,” the society said in the award announcement.

Headshot of Pamela Buckley who won the Nan Tobler Award for her work on youth development research
Pamela Buckley‘s work on Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development won her the Nan Tobler award from the Society of Prevention Research.

Over the past 25 years, Blueprints has reviewed the evidence for more than 3,000 studies conducted on 1,600 interventions. It serves as an excellent resource for governmental agencies, foundations, community organizations, and practitioners seeking to make informed decisions about their investments in social programs.

“Dr. Buckley’s leadership in establishing Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development demonstrates her significant research synthesis contributions to the prevention science.”

— Society of Prevention Research

About the recipient

Pamela Buckley has garnered $5.9 million in funding and has authored more than 50 publications, including book chapters and technical reports. Buckley has extensive knowledge of prevention science literature and specializes in testing social programs designed to promote healthy youth development. She has considerable experience managing large-scale evaluation projects and systematic reviews on intervention effects for scientific, practitioner and policymaking audiences.

About the Society of Prevention Research

Founded in 1991, the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) is dedicated to advancing research and interventions that promote human health and well-being. It is a multi-disciplinary organization that includes scientists, practitioners, advocates, administrators and policy makers in the U.S. and internationally. SPR’s Nan Tobler Award recognizes recognizes outstanding articulation of empirical evidence.

Flavored tobacco makes quitting harder, new study finds

stock photo of someone using an e-cigarette

Study led by CU Boulder Institute of Behavioral Science researcher finds that flavored tobacco products reduce likelihood of quitting later on

Flavored tobacco use makes it harder to quit smoking later on, according to a study led by Christine Steeger, a research assistant professor at the Institute of Behavioral Science, recently found.

As a senior studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, Christine Steeger (Psych’03) took a job at a large residential treatment center for youth in nearby Westminster. During overnight shifts she found herself poring over client case files.

“While the kids were sleeping, I was reading through a lot of their history, becoming more interested in why they have these problems, and how we can prevent them,” says Steeger, who is now a research assistant professor at the Institute of Behavioral Science.

After conducting behavioral and mental health research with youth and their families for several years, she earned a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 and did postdoctoral work at Yale University. She was a research scientist at the University of Washington before returning to CU Boulder in 2017. Throughout her career, Steeger has retained her interest in substance-use prevention and prevention of other problem behaviors for youth. 

Image of Christine Steeger, the researcher who led a study showing flavored tobacco makes it harder to quit
Christine Steeger‘s research interests and expertise are in prevention science, developmental psychopathology, etiology of problem behaviors, tobacco and cannabis research, and individual-, family- and school-based interventions. 

“The vaping and opioid epidemics are significant public-health issues affecting youth and adults. Given the widespread impact, society is paying more attention to these problems and how to treat and prevent them.”

Christine Steeger

Lifelong implications of flavored tobacco use

Although adults were the subjects of the recent paper, “Longitudinal associations between flavored tobacco use and tobacco product cessation in a national sample of adults,” published in July 2022 in Preventive Medicine, the study also has significant implications for youth, says Steeger, who served as the study’s lead author. 

Flavored tobacco products are “designed to appeal to kids as well as adults. Big tobacco knows how to market to kids and catch their eyes,” she says.

For the study, Steeger and her co-authors, including Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Karl G. Hill at IBS and colleagues from Yale and the University of Southern California, analyzed data from the ongoing Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study of thousands of subjects from 2013 through 2018 to determine whether use of flavored tobacco affected later cessation of tobacco use… 

Read the original story at Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine.

Ten years after Sandy Hook, let’s act to reduce mass violence

hands holding candles

“It is easy to feel powerless in the face of the horror of mass shootings. But we know what works. We know how to address this problem. It’s time to act”, says Beverly Kingston in her recent guest commentary in the Denver Post. Kingston, Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, addresses the rise in mass violence and school shootings in the United States and what preventative measures can be taken against them. One of the center’s initiatives, Safe Communities Safe School, recently partnered with the National Association of School Resource Officers to develop a new project that focuses on training school safety teams in preventing violence. Kingston explains what resources will aid in the prevention of school shootings, what patterns there are in school violence and opportunities for intervention.  Read the full article in the Denver Post.

IBS Director Lori Hunter Selected to Serve on Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities to Advise White House Policy

Lori Hunter

IBS Director, Dr. Lori Hunter, has been selected as a member of the Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities established by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Roundtable, consisting of cross-disciplinary experts in academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations, will work to inform fiscal, monetary, and financial stability policies as the United States transitions to a net-zero carbon economy and prepares for anticipated impacts of climate change. In addition to members of the Roundtable, meetings are attended by officials from across the Biden-Harris Administration, including Budget Chief Economist Zach Liscow.

The Roundtable will seek to discuss the challenges of accounting for climate change risks and opportunities with the goal of drawing upon international expertise and policies to advance methodologies that will support the development of macroeconomic analysis that inform the federal budget process in the United States. To this end, the Roundtable will address “how to translate the uncertain impacts of climate change and the transition to net-zero carbon emissions economies into inputs to macroeconomic analyses; and how to adjust macroeconomic models and analytic approaches to accommodate the unique characteristics of climate risks and opportunities.” According to a White House briefing, the vital insight and policy recommendations generated by the Roundtable “will help realize the President’s vision of rapidly transitioning our economy to produce and use clean energy by 2050.”

Additional information on the Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities and its members can be found on the National Academies Website and at

IBS Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence awarded $1.2 million grant aimed at violence prevention and education

The partnership between the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the campus police department is the result of a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As part of the project, the center will partner with the CU Boulder Police Department, student government leaders, and campus units to engage the entire campus community in a comprehensive approach to violence prevention.

The grant seeks to address the gaps between identifying issues and providing services for violence prevention through awareness training and social media messaging, which could begin as early as next fall. The intent of the project is to educate the public on how to recognize threats and to build confidence in reporting safety concerns.

As a component of the grant funding, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the CU Boulder Police Department will host an interactive program aimed at raising awareness of warning signs for violence and the importance of upstander reporting as a part of a new two-year partnership.

The program is open to the public and is from 6:30-8:15 p.m on Thursday the 27th at the Boulder Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Ave.

Additional information on the grant, partnership, and community outreach event can be found at CU Boulder Today and The Boulder Daily Camera.

IBS Center for Resilience + Well-Being awarded $900,000 grant to reduce youth health disparities

Let's Connect team

The Center for Resilience + Well-Being has been awarded a $900,000 grant by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Their aim is to build the capacity of families and communities to reduce health disparities for underserved youth ages 3-17 impacted by violence. The Center will establish sustainable implementation of culturally-relevant, trauma-responsive, evidence-based interventions for families impacted by violence in Boulder and Broomfield counties through four parent-child programs along the prevention and intervention continuum. One of these programs, Let’s Connect, was Co-Developed at IBS by Dr. Monica Fitzgerald, Dr. Kimberly Shipman, and Dr. Lucianne Hackbert.

More information on The Center for Resilience and Well-being can be found here and information specific to the grant can be found on the OJJDP website.

Youth in child welfare system lack access to birth control

Dr. Katie Massey Combs

CU Boulder Today interviewed Katie Massey Combs, Research Associate at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence in the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, to ask about her research on the accessibility and knowledge of contraceptive use among youth in the child welfare system. Learn more about the research on disproportionate rates of sexual and reproductive health risks among youth with child welfare involvement, in CU Boulder Today. In addition to CU Boulder Today, Dr. Combs has been interviewed by KGNU and The Colorado Sun. Her research can be found on Science Direct.

Dr. Lori Hunter named director of Institute of Behavioral Science

Lori Hunter

The University of Colorado Boulder has named Dr. Lori Hunter director of its Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), which applies leading edge social and behavioral science to inform and influence policies and actions with a national and international impact.

Hunter, who joined CU Boulder and IBS in 2000, is a professor of Sociology and faculty fellow in IBS’s Research Programs on Environment & Society and Population. Since 2017, she has served as director of the Institute’s Population Program and NIH-funded CU Population Center which facilitates research on migration, health and population-environment interactions. She also served as chair of Sociology from 2019-2021. Her academic tenure home will continue to reside in the Department of Sociology.

“I am delighted to welcome Lori Hunter as the next director of IBS,” said Massimo Ruzzene, acting vice chancellor for Research and Innovation and dean of the institutes. “As a distinguished contributor and leader at IBS for decades, Lori is highly regarded across our campus. As director, her combined experience and enthusiastic leadership approach will keep IBS at the forefront of the social and behavioral sciences.”

Myron Gutmann, who has served as director of IBS since January 2015, is retiring from his regular faculty position as a professor of History and will continue his scholarship as a research professor at IBS.

The faculty, staff, and associates at IBS welcome Lori in her new role as director and thank Myron for his leadership and service to IBS.

Read the remainder of the article and learn more about Lori and IBS here.

US life expectancy still falling, Native Americans hardest hit

Ryan Masters

“With the wide availability of vaccines in the United States, there was a lot of optimism that 2021 would look better than 2020,” said co-author Ryan Masters, an associate professor of sociology and IBS Affiliate. “That did not happen. The U.S. didn’t take COVID seriously to the extent that other countries did, and we paid a horrific price for it, with black and brown people suffering the most.”

Read more about the study in CU Boulder Today.