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 decision-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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Pioneer Human Services was the lead author on a study on Supervising Employees with Criminal History: An Exploratory Study of Manager Strategies and Perceptions that was published in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology - January, 31 2020.

The National Academies of Sciences-Engineering-Medicine, 10-29-19, Juvenile Justice - Moving fromPunishment to Hope and Healing MORE

OJJDP Bulletin - Juvenile Arrests 2016 describes the current arrest trends from 1980 to 2016, using data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. MORE

SAMSHA's Annual Mental Health, Substance Use Data provides critical information that helps us understand important concepts around mental health and substance abuse across the nation. MORE

Prison Policy Initiative created a report on "Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018" that requires us to consider the many types of correctional facilities and the reasons that 2.3 million people are confined in the U.S. MORE

The Sentencing Project reports on, "Can we wait 75 years to cut the prison population in half" MORE

University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health reported that studies show stressful life events are associated with reductions in a person’s chances of becoming or remaining abstinent from drugs for at least 3 years. MORE

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention shared a spotlight on girls in the juvenile justice system. The report includes the latest data highlight trends and characteristics of girls at various stages in the juvenile justice system. MORE     

Gallup and Sharecare continued to track and analyze the factors that contribute to higher well-being for Americans in 2017, with more than 2.6 million interviews completed since 2008. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index encompasses more than just physical health and economic indicators. It measures how Americans feel about and experience their daily lives across five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. MORE

NIAAA - There is a new online resource available to help people recognize and find high quality care for alcohol use disorder, which affects more than 15 million adults in the United States. The Alcohol Treatment Navigator, designed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use tool to help individuals and their loved ones navigate the often-complicated process of choosing treatment for alcohol problems. MORE