Led by Mitch Wong, MD PhD and Rebecca Dudovitz, MD MSHS
University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine

Schools reach every child and have the potential to transform their lives. The School Node looks to leverage schools as a platform for change to improve the life course of children and adolescents.


We seek to create, identify, test, and disseminate interventions that take advantage of schools to improve the health and life outcomes for children and adolescents. We prioritize interventions that are effective, scalable, and sustainable. We also seek to understand the mechanisms by which education and school environments influence health and life outcomes. 

Research Agenda

Understand the important aspects of schools that influence student well being, risky behaviors, mental health, and resilience.

Understand the impact of schools and school outcomes on long-term health, well-being and other life course outcomes.

Identify effective school-based interventions that improve educational and health outcomes.

Ongoing Projects and Grants

The RISE Up Study, funded by a NIDA R01, is a longitudinal natural experimental study to understand the impact of high performing high schools on health outcomes. The study is in its 8th year having followed a cohort of low-income students since 8th grade. The cohort is currently age 21.

The AVID study, funded by a NIDA K23, examines the impact of a national high school support program that takes at-risk students and places them in a home room program with high performing students and highly supportive teachers. Using a randomized trial design, the investigators seek to understand the educational and health impacts of AVID.

 Structural Racism and Detracking in Schools – NIH R01 (Dudovitz) 2022-2027


Wong MD, Meza BPL, Dosanjh KK, et al. Association of Attending a High-Performing High School with Substance Use Disorder Rate and Health Outcomes in Young Adults. JAMA Netw Open 2022; 5(10):e2235083  doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35083

Wong MD, Quartz KH, Saunders M, Meza B, Childress S, Seeman T, Dudovitz RN. Turning vicious cycles into virtuous ones: the potential for schools to improve the life course Pediatrics (Suppl). May 2022; 149: S450-9

Collaborative partners

Chad Abresch (City MatCH)

Arnold Chandler (Forward Change Consulting)

Saltanat Childress (UT Arlington)

Rebecca Dudovitz (UCLA)

Patrica Lester (UCLA)

Benjamin Meza (UCLA)

Judith Perrigo (UCLA)

Meredith Phillips (UCLA)

Marisa Saunders (UCLA Community School)

Karen Quartz (UCLA Community School)

Teresa Seeman (UCLA)

Joe Wright (UCLA)

Mitchell Wong (UCLA)

If you are interested in joining, please contact