Center of Excellence awarded $1 million to examine behavioral health of youth


The Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, housed in the Marshall University Research Corporation, was awarded $1 million to examine the experiences of transitional-aged youth (TAY) from their own perspective, using both quantitative and qualitative methods to provide a comprehensive view of the diverse pathways that lead to independence.

A particular focus of this project will be to examine the resources, supports and infrastructure that are needed at critical transition points to reduce risky outcomes for youth who are transitioning out of foster care, juvenile detention or other placement facilities. The project will be developed to be inclusive of all youth, including those who have eloped from placements or left home prematurely, and youth with developmental and physical challenges.

The project was awarded through the Administration for Children and Families Congressional Funding. Kathy Paxton, M.S., was selected for the project director role of the Transitional Age Youth Project, working with Amy Saunders, managing director of the Center of Excellence for Recovery, and a highly qualified team of researchers and training specialists.

Paxton has experience in both private and nonprofit health care. She has held leadership positions at international health and human service organizations and as director of substance abuse services in West Virginia. Her experience as director of behavioral health and education at the Ohio State University Center of Excellence, as well as leadership as a national consultant on youth and families, perinatal substance abuse, and equity make her an ideal person to lead this project.

“I’m happy to be back in West Virginia to serve our most important assets–young people–and to work alongside a phenomenal team to discover what is important and what works to achieve positive outcomes,” Paxton said.

For more information on the Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, visit

Contact: Clark Davis, Senior University Relations Specialist, 304-696-3408,

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