Our proposal builds a dynamic coalition to support collaborative health research for emancipated foster youth (EFY), focusing on decreasing untreated depression. Foster youth are overrepresented in all health risk categories and are at higher risk for homelessness and suicide. EFY are also young adults with great potential to participate in solutions. Our project brings together a group of people with demonstrated commitment and experience with EFY but who without funding would most likely not be able to collaborate.
Our coalition will eventually develop comparative effectiveness research questions to support EFY health research. Our plan is to convene monthly meetings for EFY representatives, stakeholders, and researchers (at least 10) to develop a needs assessment targeted to EFY health issues. Our goal is to build a cohesive group who are informed about the changing picture of EFY and services. We will hold two in-person meetings to encourage this vision, and we will invite experts to address knowledge gaps. The needs assessment will be informed by both an electronic survey and key informant interviews. Coalition members work daily with EFY, and the majority of attendees at the monthly meetings will be EFY young adult representatives. We will create a website to share findings and use social media to promote community online.
These tools will improve our infrastructure for comparative effectiveness research. Our Tier I work will result in an established coalition and advisory board to develop research questions that are EFY-driven and targeted at decreasing suicide resulting from untreated depression.