Research Center

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The Research Center at Pioneer Human Services focuses on evaluating the impact of our client services and fostering data-driven decion-making.

The overall goals of the Research Center are:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of programs and services provided at Pioneer Human Services
  • Providing data and information to foster data-driven decision-making, program development and implementation
  • Advancing knowledge about criminal recidivism, related risk and protective factors, and substance use disorders

Pioneer has over 50 programs across the state of Washington and serves over 10,000 individuals annually. Our clients have multiple needs, and it is Pioneer’s goal to provide tailored programming designed to address those needs so that our clients can lead healthy, productive lives.

Meet Bettina Friese, PhD

Bettina Friese, PhD, serves as the Director of the Research Center. Dr. Friese oversees research design, data collection, analysis and reporting of research and evaluation findings. In addition, Dr. Friese is an adjunct senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE).

Dr. Friese’s background is in sociology and public health with specific expertise in underage risk behaviors, including underage drinking and drug use. She has more than 20 years of advanced experience in the areas of evaluation, survey research, program design and implementation, as well as extensive experience managing large scale evaluation and research projects.

Dr. Friese has been the principal investigator of NIH funded studies. She was the principal investigator of an R01 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  The goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of how youth access alcohol and marijuana, the social contexts within which alcohol and marijuana are used and how social contexts are related to risky use. She was also the principal investigator of an R34 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The goal of this study was to develop an intervention, using a combination of traditional media and mobile technologies, to reduce marijuana use among high school students.

Dr. Friese’s publications, based on quantitative and qualitative research, include studies on alcohol and drug use among children and adolescents; disparities in alcohol use among racial and ethnic groups, in particular Native Americans; youth access to alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs; the role of marijuana legalization on youth marijuana use; and marijuana edible use among youth.

Dr. Friese’s most recent publications include:

Friese, B., Slater, M., & Battle R. (2017). Use of Marijuana Edibles by Adolescents in California. Journal of Primary Prevention, 38(3), 279-294. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28470448

Friese, B. (2017). "Is Marijuana Even a Drug?" A Qualitative Study of How Teens View Marijuana Use and Why They Use It. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 26, 1-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28632075

Friese, B., Slater, M., Annechino, R., & Battle, R. (2016). Teen Use of Marijuana Edibles: A Focus Group Study of an Emerging Issue. Journal of Primary Prevention, 37(3), 303-309. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27056685

Friese, B., Grube, J.W., & Seninger, S. (2015). Drinking Among Native American and White Youths: The Role of Perceived Neighborhood and School Environment. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 14(3), 287-307. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26114939

Current Pioneer Research Center Studies and Evaluations

Needed services and barriers to accessing services among residents in transitional and low-cost permanent housing

  • A survey is being conducted with transitional and low-cost housing residents to assess needs and barriers encountered when attempting to access needed services.

What do we know about clients who visit a sobering center

  • This secondary data analysis examines the characteristics of clients of a sobering center and the relationship between the number of visits and client characteristics.

Evaluation of a re-entry program for young adults

  • This program evaluation examines the effectiveness of a newly developed re-entry program for young adults (18 – 21 years). The program combines counseling, case management, life skills training and job training.

Assessing the well-being of Pioneer clients: Pilot study

  • The Pioneer Research Center developed a Well-Being Survey that includes subjective and objective measures of well-being based on existing research. The Pioneer Well-Being Survey is currently being administered to clients in Pioneer Housing. The long-term goal is to track clients’ well-being over a 3 year period.

News and Research Updates

The 25th Annual Research Conference of the International Community Corrections Association will take place in Seattle, WA, October 29 – November 1, 2017 at the Westin Hotel. Pioneer's Vice President of Treatment & Reentry Services, Steve Woolworth, is the conference chair. Experts from across the nation will be convening to discuss the intersection of the opioid crisis, homelessness, jail population surge, mental health and criminal justice populations. Read more about the conference  HERE.

SAMHSA released the latest findings from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which provides the estimates on substance use and mental health in the United States, including the misuse of opioids. In 2016, there were 11.8 million people ages 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The majority of those individuals misused pain relievers rather than used heroin; 11.5 million people misused pain relievers and 948,000 were heroin users. Additionally, the prevalence of serious mental illness, depression, and suicidal thoughts has increased among young adults over recent years. The report also includes data about opioid use disorder, substance use treatment, marijuana use, and mental illness. The complete findings of the report are available online HERE.