Youth exposure to trauma and stress is a major public health problem that increases risk for a wide range of mental health and adjustment difficulties. Ethnic minority youths are at disproportionate risk of being exposed to trauma and having their mental health needs go unmet.

The ultimate goal of the Services for At-Risk Youth & Families (SAYF) Lab is to develop and disseminate clinical practices and service delivery models that are grounded in the latest scientific research, can be feasibly delivered in challenging clinical settings, and are well aligned with the values and preferences of the youths and families who receive the services.

By focusing on three overlapping areas, the work of the SAYF Lab aims to understand and meet the needs of vulnerable youths and their families.

  1. Our work focuses on understanding patterns of risk and resilience in ethnic minority and immigrant youths exposed to violence. Guided by a culturally informed developmental psychopathology framework, we seek to understand how multiple factors (e.g., immigration, cultural values, adversity, trauma exposure, temperament) come together to promote or inhibit the adjustment of Latino youths.
  2. Our work examines the extent to which public systems of care are meeting the mental health needs of youths. In particular, we focus on examining racial disparities and patterns of service use for youths in the public mental health and child-welfare systems.
  3. We aim to translate knowledge of mental health risk, service use patterns, and service systems into improved mental health services for vulnerable youths.

In an effort to generate knowledge that can have the greatest public health impact, our research is conducted in close partnership with the community agencies, and public service systems ultimately responsible for serving vulnerable youth and families.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today