Youth Participation and Action Research Node

The YPAR Node focuses on networking and shared opportunities for learning exchange and collaborations across disciplines in the field of YPAR.

Youth Participation and Action Research Node

Our node focuses on advancing evidence and action towards meaningful youth participation and power in the promotion of young people’s health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research). YPAR is an innovative, equity-focused approach to positive youth and community development in which young people conduct systematic research to improve their lives, communities, and the institutions intended to serve them. As a participatory research approach, YPAR values youth voice and promotes healthier development for young people across the lifespan. YPAR researchers and youth engaged in YPAR utilize a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods in cycles of inquiry and action. 

The Youth Participation and Action Research Node is led by Emily Ozer, PhD and Marieka Schotland, PhD.


The YPAR Node aims to connect YPAR researchers, practitioners, and youth to build shared opportunities for learning, evidence generation, and collaboration across disciplines focused on youth wellbeing and development. The YPAR Node is a generative space for reflection, empirical inquiry, and action via the following priority activities:

  • Linkage of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to advance the evidence base and impact of YPAR on the settings and institutions that shape youth development, and the benefits for young people who participate;

  • Knowledge exchange and collaboration to produce innovative research studies, publications and products within and beyond the node;

  • Training and mentorship of the next generation of YPAR life course researchers; 

  • Identification of future directions for the field of life course research that centers youth expertise and power within systems that affect youth development;

  • Collaboration with other research networks in the MCAH (maternal/child/adolescent health), developmental, and other relevant fields to embed and evaluate adaptive and meaningful approaches to youth participation in empirical research, interventions, and policy development.

Working Groups

  • YPAR and Institutional Change: YPAR networks and platforms to impact policy in CA and nationally, focused on mental health, educational equity, and other core equity issues for life course development

  • Defining and Adapting YPAR

  • YPAR and Pandemic/Historical Moment

  • YPAR and Adolescent Development

  • Training in YPAR (Curriculum/Syllabi Sharing)

Node Members

Click here to see a map representing Node Member locations and research focuses

  • Michelle Abraczinskas, PhD (University of Florida)

  • Parissa J. Ballard, PhD (Wake Forest School of Medicine)

  • Elizabeth Benninger, PhD (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine)

  • Noé Rubén Chávez, PhD (Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science)

  • Alison Cohen, PhD, MPH (University of California San Francisco)

  • Kimalee Dickerson, PhD (University of Virginia)

  • Nancy Erbstein, PhD (UC Davis)

  • Michelle Fine, PhD (City University of New York)

  • Nickholas J. Grant, MA (Yale University)

  • Lindsay Till Hoyt, PhD (Fordham University)

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, PhD (CIRCLE, Tufts University)

  • Heather Kennedy, PhD, MPH (UpRISE, University of Colorado)

  • Abby Kiesa, MA (CIRCLE, Tufts University)

  • Ben Kirshner, PhD (Colorado University, Boulder)

  • Mariah Kornbluh, PhD (University of Oregon)

  • Elena Maker Castro, MA (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Michelle Y. Martin Romero, PhD (UNC Greensboro)

  • Emily Ozer, PhD (UC Berkeley)

  • Mary Raygoza, PhD (Saint Mary's College of California)

  • Marieka Schotland, PhD (i4Y - Innovations for Youth, UC Berkeley)

  • Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD (Boston University)

  • Ahna Suleiman, DrPH, MPH (Independent Consultant)

  • Nick Szoko, MD (UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh)

  • Raphael Travis Jr., PhD, LCSW (Texas State University)

  • Brian Villa, MPH, MSW (UC Berkeley)

  • Adam Voight, PhD (Cleveland State University)

  • Dana E. Wright, EdD, MA (Mills College)

Capacity-Building Resources & Curricula

YPAR Hub. UC Berkeley.

Braiding Wisdom Across Generations. UC Davis.

Agents of Peace - Youth Participatory Action Research Frameworks in Promoting Social Justice (2021). Workshop, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Annual Meeting.

Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) (2021).Civic Spring Report: Youth Expertise and Leadership Crucial to Intergenerational Civic SpacesTufts University.

Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) (2021). Youth Expertise SeriesTufts University.

Ozer, Shapiro, & Duarte (2021). RWJ brief on YPAR and SEL.

Ozer, Villa, Abraczinskas, & Kornbluh (2021). Partnership and Technical Assistance in Crisis: Capacity building for YPAR Implementation and Impact.

San Francisco Unified School District & UC Berkeley RPP (2022). Awardee for Student Voice 4 RPPs: Advancing the Democratization of Evidence Through Student Voice in Research Practice Partnerships. National Network of Education Research Practice Partnerships (NNERPP).

Suleiman, A. (2021). Leveraging the Developmental Science of Adolescence to Promote Youth Engagement in Research and Evaluation - A Guide for FundersUCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent

Illustrative Journal Articles

Levy, I., & Travis, R. (2020). The critical cycle of mixtape creation: Reducing stress via three different group counseling styles. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 45(4), 307-330.

Ozer, Sprague Martinez, Abraczinskas, Villa, & Prata (2022). Toward Integration of Life Course Intervention and Youth Participatory Action Research. Pediatrics, 149 (Supplement 5).

Travis, R., Levy, I., & Morphew, A. (2022). “Now we’re all family”: Exploring social and emotional development in a summer Hip Hop mixtape campChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal.