Jennifer Frank to serve on National Academy of Sciences panel

Jennifer L. Frank, assistant professor of education and senior research associate with the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and the Social Science Research Institute, was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences' Consensus Study on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development among Children and Youth.

“I am honored to be part of this independent, nonpartisan panel that will guide our efforts and funding to protect young people from mental, emotional and behavioral (MEB) disorders into the next decade,” said Frank.

Frank was one of 15 distinguished, multidisciplinary scientists chosen to serve on the committee, which will review and synthesize available research and make the next set of recommendations as a follow-on to the 2009 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, "Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders among Young People: Progress and Possibilities."

According to the 2009 landmark publication, almost one in five young people have one or more MEB disorders at any given time. The inaugural MEB report included a review of the scientific knowledge and recommendations for programmatic research, funding across multiple federal agencies, and increased funding for prevention.

“The 2009 study helped to set a national agenda for research on the prevention of MEB disorders,” said Frank. “Now this new committee will identify gaps in research and what’s known about effective prevention strategies, and recommend youth-prevention policy priorities for the nation.”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was formed by Congress in 1863 to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Frank, who was nominated by her peers, conducts research on the development and evaluation of school-based prevention practices and effective mindfulness-based strategies to modify the ecology of risk (family-school-peer) from middle childhood to late adolescence. She currently directs the Lab for School-Based Prevention at Penn State.