Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago 2017 (anticipated)
Cohort Five Fellow

Academic Mentor
Michael Fagen
Associate Professor and Director, Northwestern University Department of Preventive Medicine

Policy Mentor
Leslie Kantor
Vice President, Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Research Interests
Family, child, and adolescent health and well-being; Community-based prevention programs; Schools and school systems; Qualitative and mixed methods

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Programs, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention, Implementation Science, K-12 Education and School SystemsProgram Evaluation, Workforce DevelopmentLatent Class Analysis or Cluster Analysis, Regression ModelingGrounded Theory, Mixed MethodsAdolescents and Young Adults, LGBTQ Youth, Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups, School-aged Children, Public Health Systems


Elizabeth Jarpe-Ratner is completing doctoral work in the Division of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a research specialist at the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research and evaluation experiences relate to the translation of policy to practice. She has worked across the fields of governmental public health, early childhood and K-12 education, child welfare, and home visitation, all with a focus on the implementation of policies and interventions which emphasize the adoption and implementation of practices by frontline staff (teachers, caseworkers, home visitors, nurses, and public health professionals). Her study of practice adoption and implementation has incorporated both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Currently, as a research specialist at the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she plays a lead role on multiple projects. She is the Evaluation Director of the Great Lakes Public Health Training Center, a HRSA-funded center providing distance-training to public health practitioners throughout 6 states. She also serves as the PI of the STI/HIV Prevention Initiative evaluation with Chicago Public Schools, through which she evaluates teacher adoption of strategies to support safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students.

Previously, she held research positions at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago from 2009 through 2015. In those roles, she was a lead member of two federally-funded evaluation teams, including the Comprehensive Family Assessment (CFA) demonstration project with the Department of Children and Family Services of Illinois and Healthy Chicago Public Schools (CPS), an expansion of health and wellness programming throughout CPS. Prior to her work at Chapin Hall, Ms. Jarpe-Ratner managed school-based health programs with the Harlem Children’s Zone and is also a former Teach For America teacher.

Ms. Jarpe-Ratner holds a B.A. in Spanish language and literature from the University of Michigan; an M.S.T. in bilingual/bicultural education from the Pace University School of Education; and an M.P.H. in reproductive, adolescent, and child health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.


From District Policy to Youth Engagement: Incorporating Youth Perspectives into an Evaluation of the Chicago Public Schools’ Comprehensive Sex Education Policy

To prevent teen pregnancy, school districts across the country have passed policies mandating comprehensive sex education (CSE). Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) 2013 policy and accompanying curriculum, embedded in a comprehensive school-based prevention program, are among the most comprehensive. CPS is now focused on policy implementation. Participant engagement is an important implementation element (Dane & Schneider, 1998; Fixsen et al., 2005; Durlak, 2013); it is theorized that participant engagement mediates the link between delivery and outcomes (Coatsworth et al., 2006; Berkel et al., 2011). However, few studies have examined youth engagement in CSE programs and even fewer have done so from the perspective of adolescent participants. This study examines engagement from the youth perspective and the interplay between teacher curriculum adaptation and youth engagement in order to maximize the likelihood that desired outcomes are achieved. An effective CSE curriculum plays an important role in preventing teen pregnancy and thereby decreasing the risk for child abuse and neglect.