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Kathryn Sabella Awarded 3-Year NIDILRR Field Initiated Project

Date Posted: Tuesday, September 01, 2020


ThumbnailiSPARC researcher, Kathryn Sabella, PhD, was awarded $600,000 from NIDILRR for the 3-year Developing Implementation and Fidelity Monitoring Tools for the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT) Program. NIDILRR Field-Initiated Projects (FIPs) are a program of investigator-initiated research intended to supplement NIDILRRs agency-directed research portfolio. These projects cross all of NIDILRR’s domains, and generate new knowledge through research or development on a smaller scale relative to DRRPs and Center grants.

This project develops, tests, and refines standardized products that can be used for implementation and evaluation of the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT), a model program supporting students who have experienced mental health crises. Increasingly, older adolescents in the U.S. are experiencing mental health crises that require hospitalization and/or extended absence from school. Students often face unique academic, social, and mental health challenges when returning to school from such an absence. Most schools are ill-prepared to adequately support students’ clinical and academic needs during this transition.

The BRYT model, developed in 2003, supports high school students transitioning back to school after an extended absence due to a mental health crisis and their families. More than 100 high schools in Massachusetts currently have BRYT programs and several school districts outside of Massachusetts have begun implementing BRYT. Although BRYT has not been rigorously tested nor established as an evidence-based practice, it will continue to be implemented because it meets a critical need and there are no other standardized or evidence-based programs like it. A preliminary evaluation of BRYT showed positive outcomes as a result of BRYT participation and BRYT’s implementation to-date establishes it as a feasible intervention. However, BRYT was not developed along the traditional pipeline of evidence-based practice development. As a result, BRYT currently lacks the specific and standardized tools required to implement and evaluate BRYT in a future fully-powered randomized control trial.

This project will produce: a BRYT intervention logic model and a BRYT implementation package that includes a BRYT manual, a BRYT training and technical assistance plan and fidelity measures and protocols. This project is a collaboration of the Brookline Center and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research, Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) at the UMass Chan Medical Schools.