The THRiVE collaborative is an interdisciplinary team of researchers and students at Cleveland State University dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ youth by better understanding how the systems around LGBTQ+ youth impact their access to useful health information. In the past two years the THRiVE collaborative has applied for over $1,301,390 in internal and external funding, has written over 10 manuscripts and has given 12 scholarly presentations. Our collaborative is still developing, with some of these manuscripts and funding applications currently under review; however, the volume and quality of our scholarship is a testament to our building momentum. The ongoing requests we receive from community partners and students to participate in our work exemplifies the impact we have had both locally and nationally. We are strongly motivated to continue our work in order to fulfill our mission of understanding the important role of holistic development on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ identifying children, adolescents, and young adults and how systems operating around the child might impact development. While our work focuses on LGTBQ+ youth, the nature of our work within a public, urban research institute positions us at the intersection of understanding these ecologies for a broad spectrum of youth in historically underserved communities.
Purpose and Mission of THRiVE
The THRiVE collaborative derived from a passionate emphasis on wanting to see youth who are the most disadvantaged and marginalized not only exist and gain equity, but to “thrive” throughout their lives. The THRiVE research collaborative at Cleveland State University seeks to enhance the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ identifying children, adolescents, and young adults through understanding how intersecting systems such as school, family or community, impact healthy development. Upon working with a marketing specialist and graphic designer on our logo, the graphic for THRiVE utilizes a lower-case “i” to symbolize our focus on individual well-being. THRiVE is made up of Dr. Katie Clonan-Roy (Education), Dr. Kimberly Fuller (Social Work), Dr. Elizabeth Goncy (Clinical Psychology), and Dr. Shereen Naser (School Psychology). As an interdisciplinary team of researchers, our work focuses on the important role of holistic development on the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and young adults and how systems operating around the child might impact development. The collaborative achieves its mission by utilizing qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, centering data sharing with communities, and actively working to include youth voice in all the collaborative’s work. THRiVE is invested in contributing to CSU's role as an anchor institution for the Cleveland region as an urban community collaborator in enhancing the well-being of youth and young adults. As a collaborative we are invested in student success by including CSU graduate and undergraduate students in our work, and it is our intention to continue to do so throughout our work through experiential learning opportunities and research training.
Currently, THRiVE is working on a series of studies to better understand the sex education experiences of LGBTQ+ youth through a content analysis of school based sex education textbooks, a national survey with young adults, focus groups with adolescents, and virtual participant observation with adolescents. Results of this work have revealed the largely inadequate sex education that LGBTQ+ youth receive through traditional channels. THRiVE plans to continue this line of work to help inform more inclusive, affirming, and comprehensive sex education for LGBTQ+ youth. One goal of the center is to expand this work, including funding ongoing innovative methodologies to answer our research questions, and disseminating findings both at the academic and community level, including adult education programming.