Project Summary

Background: Pregnant and parenting adolescents are at risk of maternal health complications along with socioeconomic challenges. In Washington, DC, over 300 babies are born to teens each year and at least 75% of these adolescents identify as Black. This is significant as the maternal mortality crisis in Washington, DC disproportionately affects Black mothers who make up half of all births yet 90% of birth-related deaths. Teen parents have not yet been deeply engaged to evaluate the clinical programs or research outcomes designed for them. Their perspectives are critically needed to improve maternal health and wellness outcomes.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: This project will build on the expertise of the DC Network for Expectant and Parenting Teens (DC NEXT!), an initiative of the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA). DC NEXT! is a collective impact innovation network, skilled in youth engagement and stakeholder convening. Teen parents, who are already deeply engaged with DC NEXT!, will be trained in patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) methodology. The Healthy Generations Program at Children’s National Hospital will create and lead an educational curriculum to teach young parents PCOR/CER knowledge and skills so that they can develop a research agenda and fully participate in future research projects.

Objectives: The overall objective is to create a sustainable model for inclusion of adolescent parents in PCOR/CER via three aims. Aim 1: Recruit and sustain a context team of expectant and parenting teens to participate in PCOR/CER; Aim 2: Build context team knowledge and skills in PCOR/CER by developing and implementing the Youth Scholars Program in Patient Centered Outcomes Research curriculum (YSP); Aim 3: Assemble and disseminate the context team’s PCOR/CER agenda.


  • Recruit context team members, ages 16-24 years old, who are current or former adolescent parents, to complete the YSP
  • Develop and implement the YSP curriculum in partnership with the context team and PCOR/CER Advisory Group
  • Create a PCOR/CER research agenda that prioritizes topics of most relevance and urgency to the context team
  • Disseminate context team research agenda locally and nationally

Projected Outcomes and Outputs:

Short-term outcomes during the project period include:

  • A curriculum for teaching youth about PCOR/CER
  • A team of expectant and parenting teens who have knowledge and skills in PCOR/CER
  • A PCOR/CER research agenda that prioritizes topics of most relevance and urgency to teen parents

Medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include:

  • Continued dissemination of the YSP Curriculum and context team research agenda
  • A guide for how to build a research agenda that centers priorities of those with lived experience, to be disseminated among multisector stakeholders
  • A blueprint of promising strategies for recruiting, retaining, and sustaining a context team of expectant and parenting teens

Long-term outcomes (3+ years post-project period) include:

  • Continued tracking of context team member involvement in PCOR/CER

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Patients will participate in project design, project conduct, and dissemination. DC NEXT! maintains a coalition of stakeholder organizations and parenting teens themselves to engage in policy solutions to empower adolescent parents. DC NEXT! partner organizations and teen parent members will recruit for the YSP.

Patients will co-design critical components of the project including co-leading YSP sessions and creating the research agenda. Context team members will lead dissemination of the research agenda. The DC NEXT! stakeholders will be engaged regularly for recruitment, research agenda dissemination, and connection to PCOR/CER investigators.

Project Collaborators: DC Network for Expectant and Parenting Teens, DC Primary Care Association, Children’s National Hospital, Healthy Generations Program

Project Information

Yael Smiley, MD
Children's Research Institute

Key Dates

April 2025


Project Status
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Last updated: April 12, 2024