Jane Powers


Jane Powers

Senior Extension Associate, ACT for Youth COE
1st fl., Beebe Hall
Phone: 607-255-3993 Fax: 607-255-8562
Email: jlp5@cornell.edu
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Since 1985, I have been a senior staff member of Cornell University's Family Life Development Center, now the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, where I have worked on a variety of research projects which have examined the impact of violence on the lives of children, youth and families. Since 2000, I have been involved in the application of research to practice, specifically around promoting the health and well being of adolescents and preventing risk behaviors, including violence, risky sexual behavior, and abuse.  I currently am the PI and Project Director for the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth Center of Excellence, which is a collaboration of Cornell, the University of Rochester Division of Adolescent Medicine, the Center for School Safety, and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC.  We work with communities and youth serving organizations across New York State helping them implement positive youth development strategies, prevent risky behavior, and provide resources, tools and expertise on using and evaluating evidence based programs that promote adolescent sexual health.  My research interests include positive youth development, evaluation of community based programs, implementation science,  adolescent sexual health, child abuse and neglect, and youth homelessness.  I received my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University in 1985.  

Current Professional Activities:

Since 1985, I have been on the research staff of the Familiy Life Development Center now the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.  I currently serve as the Project Director and PI of the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth Center of Excellence (COE) an intermediary that supports the implementation of positive youth development strategies throughout communities and youth serving programs across New York State. The COE, based at Cornell in the BCTR,  collaborates with the University of Rochester Division of Adolescent Medicine and the NYS Center for School Safety to provide training, resources and evaluation support for grantees funded by the New York State Department of Health to promote adolescent sexual health. I am interested in the application of knowledge to practice and in using research to improve the lives of children, youth and families. Much of my work focuses on supporting the implementation and evaluation of evidence based programs that promote adolescent sexual health of 58 grantees located across New York State  The COE also supports several other DOH funded initiatives, one that works with 9-12 year olds to support their transition to adolescence, and one that works with teen parents in order to promote health, education, economic and social outcomes.  My research interests include positive youth development, adolescent sexual health, implementation science, program evaluation,  violence prevention, and youth homelessness. I have a special interest in participatory research approaches with youth and have been involved in a number of projects that engage youth as research and evaluation partners. I have had a long standing project collaborating with a community based organization that serves homeless youth.  We have conducted a participatory research project,  partnering with homeless youth to study the scope and nature of youth homelessness.  We have collected data 4 times in the past 12 years and have used these data to improve services for at risk youth in the Ithaca community.

Current Research Activities:

My current research activities include:

1)  We continue to evaluate the implementation of evidence based programs (EBPs) for adolescent sexual health as part of the Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention  (CAPP) initiative.   Much of the work has involved monitoring fidelity and adaptation of EBPs.  We have developed a comprehensive evaluation data management system that feeds evaluation data to our funder,  the NYS Department of Health, the grantees, and to the Center of Excellence for quality improvement purposes and technical assistance. We have been documenting the adaptation of the EBPs among special sectors of the adolescent population (e.g., foster care, runaway and homeless, LGBTQ youth).  Our most recent work has involved the development of tools to evaluate quality of EBP implementation.  We have developed and have been using an observational tool and process that the COE is using to provide feedback to educators and CAPP facilitators with the aim of strengthening programming and implementation. We have also begun to collect outcome data using pre and post test data which assess changes in attitudes and behavioral intent.  We hope to explore how variations in implementation and context impact youth outcomes over time.

2)  In the Pathways to Success Initiative, we are working with three communities (the Bronx, Rochester and Buffalo) trying to improve outcomes for teen parents.  We have been using social network analyses to strengthen linkages in the communities for organizations working with teen parents to better serve this population.  We have used a "partner tool" to facilitate the collection of these data which are used for evaluation purposes as well as to feed data back to the community to improve their work.

3)  We continue to conduct focus groups for the DOH on topics pertaining to adolescent health that inform statewide policies and initiatives. As part of a new project that I have been launching with Janis Whitlock, we conducted focus groups with teens and college students on issues pertaining to the use of technology mediated sexual activities (e.g., pornography, sexting, hook up apps). This project is described below.

4)  IN collaboration with Janis Whitlock, we have launched a project that is examining adolescent sexual health in the digital age. We have been collecting data from parents, educators, and youth, on the types of digital media youth are using to learn about sexual health and engage in sexual activities.  We have developed a survey for use with college students and have collected pilot data using it.  We have been developing a proposal that we will submit to the NIH to advance this research agenda.

5)  I continue to provide research support to Learning Web, supporting their efforts to gather data about homeless and runaway youth.  During this past winter, we collected another round of needs assessment data iusing the participatory reserach methods we have developed during 3 prior data collection efforts.  The homeless youth serve as research partners in identifying the sample, collecting the data, interpreting the results and presenting findings to key community stakeholders.

6)  Engaging Youth as Evaluation Partners: a collaborative project with the University of Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension, which promotes the use of a youth led evaluation approach for collecting and using data to bring about organizational change and improvement that strengthen youth development practices within programs.


Current Public Engagement Activities:

1)Developed a youth development basic training for new youth workers and volunteers in the extension system and other youth serving organizations; used the curriculum to create on-line training resources for youth workers.

2) Developed resources for parents to improve their capacity to talk with their children about sexual health

3) Disseminated youth development knowledge, best practice and resources to policy makers, educators, and service providers across NYS and nationally through training, workshops, conferences and the ACT for Youth website www.actforyouth.net.

4) Support the implementation of youth development principles and practices in youth serving programs and community settings

5)  Assist community based programs implement evidence based interventions with fidelity and quality

6) Build capacity of practitioners to conduct program evaluation and use evaluatioun data to strengthen program quality.

7) Build capacity of practitioners to engage youth as evaluation partners

8) Facilitate program assessment and action planning through youth/adult partnerships;

9) Develop tools and resources to facilitate the implementation of effective youth-adult partnerships;

10) Provide information and resources to state agencies and policy makers on youth development to enhance their efforts and build statewide youth development agenda

11) Conduct research that informs the development of adolescent sexual health initiatives  programs, and policies for the NYS Department of Health.



Ph.D., 1985, Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca NY.

B.A., 1977, Social Science, Residential College, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Related Websites:



Administrative Responsibilities:

I serve as PI and Project Director for the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth Center of Excellence and oversee and manage several additional youth development research projects, and grants and contracts from other state agencies including the Office of Mental Health, as well as the Federal Formula Funds. I manage the budgets and contracts for the COE research projects, communicating with fiscal units in state agencies and Cornell. I also manage and supervise 15 staff based at Cornell, and 10 staff based off campus.

Selected Publications:

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, Karen Schantz & Jutta Dotterweich (2015) Implementing Evidence-Based Programs: Lessons Learned From the Field, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 108-116, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2015.1020155

 Zeldin, S., Christens, B., and Powers, J. The Psychology and Practice of Youth-Adult Partnership.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 2013 June; 51 (3-4): 385-97.

 Eckenrode, J, Campa, M., Cole, R., Kitzman, H., Anson, E., Sidora, K., Luckey, D., Powers, J., Henderson, C., Olds, D. (2010) Long-Term Effects of Prenatal and Infancy Nurse Home Visitation on the Life-Course of Youth:  19-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Trial. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine; 164(1): 9-15.

 Whitlock, J., Powers, J., and Eckenrode, J (2006) The Virtual Cutting Edge: The Internet and Adolescent Self Injury. Developmental Psychology, 42(3):1-11.

Powers, J. and Tiffany, J. (2006) Engaging youth in participatory research and evaluation. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, November Supplement, p 68-76.

 Eckenrode, J., Zielinski, D., Smith, El., Marcynszyn, L., Henderson, C., Kitzman, H., Cole, R., Powers, J., and Olds, D. “Child Maltreatment and the early onset of problem behaviors: Can a program of nurse home visitation break the link?” Development and Psychopathology, 13 (2001), 873-890. 

Selected Keywords:
Adolescent Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Program Evaluation, Adolescent Sexual Behavior, Prevention, Implementation Science

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.