Barri Burrus, PhD, is a Chief Scientist in RTI’s Community Health Research Division. She specializes in developing strategies, interventions, tools, resources, social media, trainings, etc., designed to translate evidence-based practices, research and theory into actionable approaches, resources, strategies and interventions to help prevent risk and promote protective behaviors, with a focus on adolescents and children. Dr. Burrus conducts research and evaluation to explore the effectiveness of interventions. As part of that process, she seeks to understand the processes through which those interventions work, including qualitative assessment of barriers. She also conducts research to better understand adolescent behavior (e.g., adolescent decision-making around risks, social media use and preferences). A current example includes the “Creative Test Kitchen” and the “Hive,” where researchers gather adolescents’ feedback in person or virtually to assess the best ways in to present information on risks, goal-setting behaviors, etc. These data are used to shape materials in ways that will increase adolescents’ receptivity and ability to “hear” and, ideally, “act upon” the messaging.
Dr. Burrus currently directs a large media campaign project for the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health. This project includes development of interventions, resources, and social media initiatives with the goal of designing and developing a multi-faceted communication campaign and resources to help adolescents avoid risky behaviors.
She is also project director for FYSB’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Training and Technical Assistance project. Under this project, Dr. Burrus helps translate research and best evidence-based practices into implementable information and strategies to increase FYSB-funded grantees’ effectiveness at preventing adolescent pregnancy and related risks. Dr. Burrus also worked on Active Schools: Let’s Move Kansas!, which included an evaluation of a school-based program designed to increase movement within the classroom and other non-traditional school venues.
In addition to her work at RTI, Dr. Burrus is an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at North Carolina State University.