4665 Lampson Avenue
Los Alamitos, California
Director, Health & Human Development Program
Austin oversees a variety of health-related and youth development projects, addressing issues such as alcohol and other drug use, violence, teen pregnancy and sexual behavior, and delinquency.
He currently directs the California Healthy Kids Survey project, which is designed to provide assistance to every school district in California in collecting and using data on health-risk behavior and youth assets. This California Department of Education-funded survey has led to a better understanding of the relationship between students' health behaviors and academic performance, and is frequently cited by state policymakers and in the media. Austin and his CHKS staff help schools and districts ensure CHKS is part of a comprehensive data-driven decision-making process to help guide the development of more effective health, prevention, and youth development programs.
Austin cowrote WestEd's Ensuring That No Child Is Left Behind: How Are Student Health Risks & Resilience Related to the Academic Progress of Schools? Based on CHKS data, this report underscores the importance to academic achievement of key risk and youth development factors. Austin and his CHKS staff also have written a number of brief research reports based on the survey data. These reports, disseminated to policymakers and other key leaders statewide, focus on topics such as health risks, resilience, and the Academic Performance Index; substance use among youth in foster and relative care; bias-related harassment among students; and risk behaviors and problems among youth in nontraditional schools.
In 2000, Austin and his CHKS staff received the WestEd Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Profession.
Under Austin's leadership, HHDP staff also implement effective approaches to preventing problem behaviors among youth. Currently, HHDP staff are evaluating the first state legislation designed to help counter the rise in adolescent obesity, improve the nutritional content of school meals, and encourage daily physical activity.
While at WestEd, Austin has directed nine major California biennial state student risk-behavior surveys, two California state surveys of school dropouts and youth at risk of academic failure, and numerous local school surveys. Previously, Austin served as a prevention specialist for the Western Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities.
Austin has more than 20 years of experience in the study of alcohol and other drug use as a historian, epidemiologist, and prevention specialist. Over the years, he has received numerous federal research grants to study ethnic differences in adolescent alcohol and other drug use and the history of alcohol and other drug use. He is the author and editor of research articles, resource tools, and prevention guides, and frequently presents his work at conferences nationwide.
He received a BA and an MA in history from the University of California, Riverside, and a PhD in history from the University of California, Los Angeles.