Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program

The adolescent through young adult (AYA) developmental period is associated with increasing autonomy, and brings challenges and opportunities for engaging individuals in clinical and translational studies. AYA research participation is critical to advance treatments and improve understanding of typical development associated with this unique age group.

Efforts in recruiting diverse AYAs in clinical and translational research can require extraordinary efforts on the part of researchers. Retention of AYAs in clinical trials and longitudinal studies is also critical and challenging but necessary to ensure the validity of study findings, understand the longitudinal effects of a disease or treatment, and track development over an extended period.

The Adolescent and Young Adult program is focused on identifying and developing strategies and resources to improve recruitment and retention of AYAs in clinical and translational research, to enable researchers to perform high-impact AYA studies and further understand and treat health problems that occur during a period of life associated with great vulnerability and promise.

The AYA work group, led by Theresa Keegan, Ph.D., and Julie Schweitzer, Ph.D., includes investigators from across the entire UC Davis campus who are involved in AYA research. The work group meets quarterly to share and develop approaches and best practices to effectively engage AYA in research.

The AYA Health Research Advisory Boards bring the personal experiences and expertise of the AYA community to the development of strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of this population in research studies. This includes identifying approaches to reach and educate AYAs on the process and benefits of research. There are three AYA Advisory Boards, adolescents (13-17 years), young adults (18-24) and older AYAs (25-39), that meet quarterly.

Visit our AYA Health Research Advisory Boards page to learn more.

The AYA program provides individual consultation services, facilitates focus groups, and offers training  to help staff and researchers build rapport, determine what factors AYAs value in deciding on participation, and evaluate burden versus value of participating from an AYA perspective.

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How To Get Help
  • If you are interested in serving on the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Advisory Board, we would love to hear from you. We also invite researchers who work with adolescents and young adults to engage with the AYA Board.

    For more information, contact us at