Recent & Upcoming Projects

Mentoring the Next Generation of Researchers

Each year, the IPA mentors students and professors with limited research experience. Past and current mentees work at a variety of universities including Loma Linda University, Andrews University, Southern Adventist University, the University of Michigan, the University of Idaho, University of Tennessee, and the University of California in Los Angeles. We use the Adventisit Human Subjects Research Association as a primary venue for mentoring the next generation of scholars. We are pleased at the success of our younger faculty in being published in the scientific literature. 
Global Church Member Survey     

The IPA was awarded the 2022-2023 Global Church Member Survey. We have completed analyzing the data and have submitted the report for this survey. Questions and analysis focus on a wide variety of beliefs, practices, and health. We continue analysis from the 2017-2018 survey and plan to present at a session of the annual meeting of the Religious Research Association/Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. The published reports can be accessed here

Two major publications have come from the 2017-2018 data:
Religious Belief and Culture: The Curious Case of the Intuitive Soul
Working with Church Ministry Departments

We work with a wide variety of Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, primarily with Health Ministries but we also regularly work with NAD & GC Family Ministries, and Offices of Education. In working with these ministries, we prepare professional/scientific presentations and publications for the scientific and faith community. 

Evaluation of Youth Alive Program  

The IPA is working with the Health Ministries of the General Conference to evaluate the Youth Alive program. A recent article can be found here, "Trauma and Substance Abuse in Teens"    

Developing a Training Program for Adventist Recovery Ministries Facilitators and College Prevention Programming      

The IPA is working with the Health Ministries Department of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to develop a training program for those who work as facilitators for the for the  Journey to Wholeness (JTW) program.  We are also working with the NAD on developing a model substance abuse prevention program for Adventist Colleges.
Andrews University Health Risk Behavior Study 

The IPA has conducted 5 of these surveys, occuring about every 5-7 years since 1995. The most recent survey was completed in March of 2023. We now have an integrated file which is used to analyze and examine trends in health risk behaviors as well as changes in risk and protective factors. Presentations have been made by Faculty and Students from the data to the Michigan Academy of Arts, Science and Letters, American Public Helath Association, American Socialigical Association and National Council on Family Relations. Resulting in national and research awards for the students. In recent years, we presented the Keynote address from the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters from these data entitled: "Trends in Substance Use in a Prohibitionist University Compared to General College Populations" or "Macro Secular Trends Amidst the Unfolding Hegelian Dialectic"

Our major activity now with these data is to integrate data from 1995 through 2023 to examine trends in substance use and risk and protective behaviors.We will examine the role of religion, parental bonding, childhood trauma, personality, and mental health on substance use and obesity. Follow up research was done in the form of qualitative interviews on the motivation for not using substances or engaging in other high-risk behavior. 
Summer School of Addictions  
The IPA conducted a Summer School of Addictions in May of 2023. The presentations can be viewed by registering for  "Addictions Workshop: Families and Addictions", or as an Independent Study, from the Social Work or Behavior Sciences Departments. 

Course Theme: Research data shows the family is often involved where behavioral problems are prevented, initiated and terminated. Addiction is an example of this. Any profession that works with families will need to know how addiction affects families and what can be done to strengthen families to address addiction.

Topics and Presenters:
Family as a Risk and Protective Factor - Duane McBride
Parent and Child Substance Use Trends - Yvonne Terry-McElrath
Codependency - David Sedlacek
Impact of Addiction on Marriage - Beverly Sedlacek
Disability in the Family - Shannon Trecartin
Family as a Risk Factor for Recovery - Alina Baltazar
Family Dinners and Risk Behaviors - Duane McBride
The Family’s Role in Preventing Substance Abuse During Trauma Recovery - Harvey Burnett
Al-Anon - Bill & Noreen
Electronic Media and Kids - Gary Hopkins & Alina Baltazar
Church -based Support Programs - David Sedlacek
Family Worship as Prevention - Jasmine Fraser
Riverwood Mental Health Center - Panankosi Mbunjwa
Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center - Maria Gamez
Adventist Human Subject Researchers Association    
The IPA provides leadership for the Adventist Human-Subject Researchers Association. The 2023 conference meetings were held at the Adventist University of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.  The 2024 AHSRA Conference is being held May 22-25, on the campus of Andrews University. For help in writing your proposal: A huge “thank you” to Rene Drumm, who has put together a most helpful presentation on “Developing a Winning Proposal”. Please download to hear the presentation and when viewing the slides.
According to Andrews University's Digital Commons, research from the AHSRA group has been downloaded more than 5,000 times around the world. 
Survey on Seventh-day Adventist LGBT+ Youth Risk Factors   
Coming to terms with one’s sexual identity is a particularly complex process for Christian LGBT+ youth, many of whom are at high risk for negative outcomes such as depression, substance abuse and suicide. This survey of 310 Seventh-day Adventist adult Millennials explored perceived levels of their families’ acceptance or rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity during their teen years. Other variables included recent levels of self-esteem, social support, depression, substance abuse, high-risk sexual activity, and suicidal thinking or attempts. Initial findings showed generally low levels of family acceptance and support, as well as elevated rates of depression and at-risk thoughts and behaviors. A high proportion of respondents have retained strong spiritual commitment and moderate church involvement.
United Way Evaluation Projects

This project was conducted with the United Way of Southwest Michigan.  The purpose of the project was to better understand the priorities of community members in Southwestern Michigan.  When discussions among businesses, nonprofits, government, and philanthropic organizations take place concerning community impact, a key voice is often left out of the conversation: members directly representing different groups in the community who have active roles in creating effective and lasting community solutions. To address this gap, the United Way conducted 15 focus groups and collected 159 surveys to explore community concerns, needs, and priorities.  Curt VanderWaal led a team of 26 Master’s level students in the analysis of these data and then wrote a comprehensive report that has been distributed to community groups for discussion and development of funding and policy priorities.

Collection of research literature from SDA health studies  
The purpose of this brief document is to provide research literature from health studies of Seventh-day Adventist populations. The literature comes from the work the IPA team has done over the last few decades, the data repository of the Adventist Human-Subject Researchers Association, the Adventist Health Studies in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, Project Genesis at La Sierra University, members of the Health Ministries Team at the General Conference and Digital Commons at Andrews University. Religiosity and Health, Health Behaviors, Mental Health, Psychological Well-being Studies of Seventh-day Adventists   
Area Agency on Aging Projects

The Region IV Area Agency on Aging (AAA) partnered with the regional healthcare system, Corewell Health South, to address the challenges and barriers that exist in the complex care ecosystem for older adults in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties in Michigan. The overall goal of the CoC is to create a person-centered community of care that integrates medical interventions with home-based support and services to serve complex care older adults who are over age 65.  Curt VanderWaal and his evaluation team are coordinating the mixed-method evaluation of this multi-year intervention through a series of surveys, focus groups, and clinical data analyses to examine the outcomes of this program.