Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Promoting wellness in children and adolescents through research

Promoting wellness in children and adolescents through research

As a school psychologist, Dr. Gina Coffee’s research is driven by effective collaboration with schools, families, and communities to promote wellness in children and adolescents, focusing on the study of assessment and intervention practices within multi-tiered systems of supports in schools and the prevention of sex-risk behaviors among adolescents. Here's a quick look at what Dr. Coffee has been working on.

Promoting Academic Competence in Children and Adolescents

Loyola's Dr. Gina Coffee’s research promotes evidence-based assessment and intervention practices, as she works closely with local schools, aligning research practices with the needs of those schools. Dr. Coffee and her student research team directly support schools in their assessment and intervention practices while also evaluating the effectiveness of these practices on student outcomes.

In addition, Dr. Coffee, Dr. Markeda Newell of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and their respective research teams are currently conducting meta-analyses to determine the effectiveness of academic interventions on the performance of ethnically diverse learners. Finally, through a collaborative effort with experts in early childhood education, Dr. Coffee and her colleagues have written a book designed to promote evidence-based assessment and intervention practices in early childhood education settings.

The book, entitled Early Childhood Education: A Practical Guide to Evidence-Based, Multi-Tiered Service Delivery (Coffee, Ray-Subramanian, Schanding, & Feeney-Kettler, 2013), was released by Routledge in January 2013.

Promoting Sexual Health of Adolescents

In addition to the evaluation of academic assessment and intervention practices in schools, Dr. Coffee’s research agenda includes the prevention of sex-risk behaviors among adolescents. This interest grew out of her participation on Dr. Susan Riesch’s Mission Possible: Parents and Kids Who Listen and the Kids United With Parents (‘SUP) projects when Dr. Coffee was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. These projects were housed within the nursing school, so Dr. Coffee had the unique opportunity to collaborate with nurses, children, and parents in meeting the common goal of improving children’s health. From this experience, her interest in collaborating across helping professions was sparked. Therefore, when Dr. Coffee began working at Loyola University Chicago, she promptly aligned myself with a colleague in the School of Nursing, established a relationship with the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at a local high school, and developed a partnership with a local community agency.

In collaboration with these partners and her student research team, Dr. Coffee has conducted needs assessments within high-need communities. Dr. Coffee will use these data to prevent engagement in sex-risk behaviors and promote sexual health among underserved youth populations. Through this agenda, she will (1) use the needs assessment data collected from a local community to inform the selection, implementation, and evaluation of a program designed to prevent engagement in sex-risk behaviors among ethnically diverse young adolescents; (2) complete a formative program evaluation and conduct a summative program evaluation of an existing comprehensive sex education program that has been delivered to youth in suburbs surrounding Chicago for 50 years; and (3) begin to study the sexual, social, and emotional supports sexual and gender minority youth need in schools and to examine the extent to which comprehensive sex education programs are designed to meet the physical, social, and emotional needs and to prevent engagement in sex‐risk behaviors for sexual and gender minority youth.

In all, Dr. Coffee’s interests in research are guided by needs in the professional practice of school psychology, as she ultimately seeks to minimize the research to practice gap by conducting and disseminating research that will directly inform practice.