• July 24, 2011
    iRT Attends CADCAís Mid-Year Training Institute
    iRT President, Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, will present on Substance Abuse Prevention and Media Literacy Education at the 2011 CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute. The Institute, which takes place July 24th-28th in Anaheim, California, will bring together coalitions and prevention professionals from across the country to take an in-depth look at issues affecting substance abuse prevention and coalitions. iRT is excited to be involved once again with this important event. To learn more about the Training Institute, visit their webpage here,

  • May 25, 2011
    PACC Summit 2011 Provides Networking and Resources for iRT and Others
    iRT staff, Dr. Rebecca Stelter, Jordan Price and Mary Pat Riddle, attended the Meet the NC Researchers and Developers Night at the PACC Summit 2011 on May 25th. The event was held in Raleigh and was a wonderful opportunity for iRT to meet other researchers and prevention coalitions and community groups. Thanks to the North Carolina Centers for Prevention Resources who hosted the conference.

  • April 27, 2011
    iRT Attends Wyoming Meth and Substance Abuse Conference
    iRTís Communications Coordinator, Mary Pat Riddle, traveled to Casper, Wyoming, April 27th-29th to attend the 8th Annual Meth and Substance Abuse Conference. She presented information on using media literacy education as an effective strategy for substance abuse prevention in youth. The conference brought together different areas of the community, including treatment specialists, coalition members, and law enforcement to discuss different issues and solutions surrounding the challenges of preventing substance abuse in youth.

  • April 12, 2011
    Dr. Kupersmidt Presents at 7th Annual NC Parent Network Conference
    Dr. Janis Kupersmidt and Mary Pat Riddle traveled to Raleigh to attend the North Carolina Parent Network Conference on April 12th. There Dr. Kupersmidt presented to a group on the importance of media literacy education and introduced the Media Detective curriculum and its partner product, Media Detective Parent Night. The Conference was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas about substance abuse prevention resources. Learn more about the NC Parent Network by visiting,

  • April 5, 2011
    iRT Researchers Attend the Society for Research and Child Development Conference
    Last week, Drs. Kupersmidt, Parker, and Stelter traveled to Montreal to attend the biennial SRCD Conference. There they presented research on SIP-AP and CARE, iRTís social and emotional learning assessments. The conference was also a time to meet and share ideas with other devoted researchers and psychologists. For more information about the conference, visit, and to learn more about SIP-AP and CARE, visit

  • February 2011: iRT Programs Listed on Prestigious NREPP
    The Media Detective and Media Ready programs are now listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, NREPP. The database evaluates and rates the programs in several areas including outcomes, quality of research, study population, readiness for dissemination and costs. Visit the NREPP website,, to view the full listings.
    Both programs use developmentally appropriate lessons, and students learn how to deconstruct media messages in order to better understand the pro-alcohol and tobacco messages that are being sent to them by the media. The programs and lesson objectives are integrated with curriculum objectives in language arts, information skills, mathematics, and healthful living. Learn more about the programs by visiting our Products page

  • 9/13/2010: innovation Research & Training launches new prevention website! is a new website for ordering and completing prevention training courses. The site has many flexible and powerful features including a homepage with separate links for teachers/educators and administrators; a "Learn More" section; and news relevant to prevention services. The new website creates a streamlined and user-friendly web environment for your training needs. Educators can log directly into the iRT Prevention website and have direct access to training courses. Coming soon, educators will also have access to an interactive, moderated PreventionWiki where they can both learn and contribute to useful information for programs. Useful features for School or Organizational Administrators include being able to purchase training courses; enroll educators in courses; and tracking educatorsí progress through courses.

  • 08/23/2010: Lessons particularly effective with boys
    'Media Detective' Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol and Tobacco Marketing Messages

    DURHAM, NC- Learning to be a "media detective" allows children to understand the intentions of marketers and the goals of advertising while empowering them to resist messages that encourage alcohol or tobacco use. A study published in the current journal Pediatrics shows that teaching children as early as third grade to be more skeptical of media messages can help prevent substance use. The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in a grant awarded to Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, senior research scientist at Innovation Research & Training (IRT), a Durham, NC, research company, reveals that a brief, two-week course boosted the critical thinking skills of third through fifth graders and reduced their intentions to use alcohol and tobacco while increasing their belief that they will be able to resist them.

    "We underestimate the extent to which young children internalize advertising messages," co-author, Erica Weintraub Austin, Director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion at Washington State University said. "This can affect their consumer decisions later on. For example, children who associate tobacco use with popularity and independence may want to use tobacco when the opportunity arises. "Message designers put a lot of proprietary research into making their messages appealing to young people, and children need to understand early on that messages are not always developed with their best interests in mind. This means children must and can learn to discount appeals to their emotions." According to Austinís research, people internalize or reject media messages through a process that is partly logical and partly emotional. Teaching children to recognize that message makers want them to react with their emotions can help them react more logically instead.

    Elementary schools were randomly assigned to receive the "Media Detective" program or to serve in a control group. The 344 children who had the Media Detective lessons showed less interest in alcohol-branded merchandise than the 335 in the control group. Also, students in the Media Detective group who had used alcohol or tobacco in the past reported significantly less intention to use and a greater ability to refuse substances than similar students who were in the control group. The lessons especially helped boys. Most previous work has been done with adolescents, however, and the study in "Pediatrics" is among the first to verify that teaching younger children media literacy skills can be useful as well.

    Austin says, "Media literacy has the potential to help reduce health disparities in the future, because individuals who need it the most seem to benefit the most. We think that is quite exciting."

    The study, "Media Literacy Education for Elementary School Substance Use Prevention: Study of Media Detective," by Janis B. Kupersmidt, Tracy M. Scull and Erica Weintraub Austin, appears in the issue of "Pediatrics" published on Aug. 23.