Raphael Travis

In Funded Scholars
Raphael Travis
Raphael Travis

Raphael

Travis

DrPH

Associate Professor
Texas State University- San Marcos

Professional Bio

Dr. Travis blends direct social work practice and public health research experience in his current empirical work examining the principles of positive youth development as they relate to out-of-school time (OST) programs, juvenile justice and reentry, and Hip-Hop culture. Prior to his concentration on research, Dr. Travis provided direct social work practice and supervision in residential programs serving court-adjudicated youth and adolescents with mental health needs. Dr. Travis eschewed models focused solely on deficit-reduction and behavior-maintenance in favor of approaches emphasizing positive growth and development. He sought greater attention to the long-term developmental well-being of youth. These early practice tendencies were the underlying spark initiating his return to graduate school. He entered his doctoral work at UCLA’s School of Public Health committed to playing a leadership role in improving systems of care for all adolescents by conducting research that can help strengthen health-enhancing opportunities for young people. Each current area of research by Dr. Travis is grounded in trying to better understand sources of positive influence to the developmental well-being of adolescents (i.e., emotionally, physically, socially, and cognitively). Particular attention is paid to vulnerable populations.

Dr. Travis continues his participation in community-based work. He is an active member of the Austin/Travis County Ready by 21 Coalition and a member of the United Way Capital Area Youth Council.

Project Description

This study used data collected in the 1997-2002 evaluation of the Health Link Program. The Health Link program was established to help reduce substance abuse among individuals returning from Riker’s Island in New York City. Research goals were to determine the relevance of approximations of PYD to recidivism; determine the relationships among mental health, substance use and recidivism across time points; and determine potential cultural uniqueness between African American and Latino youth.

My New Connections Experience

I was attracted to the training symposiums as a source of professional development. I heard about the actual grants during the training workshop and I knew I had to apply. The ambiance was inspiring, welcoming and needed. The combination of a supportive atmosphere and intellectual depth transcended what my home University offered. I was very excited to apply.

New Connections has been a home away from home. It instantly offered a community of researchers that shared a similar commitment to the well-being of vulnerable populations. New Connections offered me top-notched professional development for many research and networking skills. I have greatly improved my data analysis skills and overall research skills. I also have a much expanded research network and have been able to engage in many new opportunities for collaboration. Within my own academic environment New Connections and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have a stellar reputation. My being awarded the grant has, by association, afforded me increased visibility and positive accolades. Finally, I feel confident about the direction of my research as the study findings were promising and warrant further exploration in other similar data sets. I believe New Connections has been invaluable and I look forward to the evolution of my professional career.

Research Interests

Dr. Travis blends direct social work practice and public health research experience in his current empirical work examining the principles of positive youth development as they relate to out-of-school time (OST) programs, juvenile justice and reentry, and Hip-Hop culture. Dr. Travis is examining attitudes and perceptions about Hip-Hop culture among adolescents; young people’s experiences in a newly formed teen court; and development enhancing features of a community-coalition to promote positive youth development. Dr. Travis’ RWJF New Connections grant was to investigate the relationship between the positive youth development concept of “thriving” and adolescent recidivism.

Each area of research by Dr. Travis is grounded in trying to better understand positive influences to the developmental well-being of adolescents (i.e., emotionally, physically, socially, and cognitively). Particular attention is paid to vulnerable populations.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator,
  • Award Year: 2008
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Vulnerable Populations
  • Project Name: Hidden Trajectories of Influence: A Model Integrating Positive Youth Development Principles with Common Predictors of Youth Recidivism.

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