Cuyahoga County YRBS

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a cross-sectional tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track adolescent risk behavior over time. The national YRBS has tracked the major causes of morbidity and mortality for adolescents since 1991. Nationwide, the YRBS is conducted every two years among students in grades 9-12.

In Cuyahoga County, the YRBS is conducted every year (7-8 grades in even years and 9-12 grades in odd years). The YRBS has been administered in secondary schools throughout Cuyahoga County with support from a variety of funders and community sponsors since 1995. In 2008 the administrative and program components of the Center for Adolescent Health merged with the Center for Health Promotion Research, thus incorporating the YRBS project under one community surveillance umbrella.

YRBS information is important to collect at the national level, and it is beneficial to collect this data on the local level in order to compare the risk behaviors of local teens with those of teens in other communities in Ohio as well as in other urban communities across the country. 

The Cuyahoga County YRBS is tailored to fit local needs and addresses a wide range of topics, such as behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries; dietary behaviors, physical activity, obesity, overweight, and weight control; alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drug use; behaviors that contribute to violence; sexual behaviors; and other health topics. The Cleveland-Cuyahoga YRBS follows the methods established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing local data to be compared to state and national estimate.

Geographic Regions

The map below provides a visual representation of the six regions of Cuyahoga County.  The division of Cuyahoga County into six regions allows for a geographic examination of the prevalence of different risk behaviors in Cuyahoga County. The six regions are: 

  • Cleveland/CMSD—East: the portion of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District located east of the Cuyahoga River
  • Cleveland/CMSD—West: the portion of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District located west of the Cuyahoga River
  • Inner Ring—East: a city on the east side of the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga County which shares a border with the city of Cleveland
  • Inner Ring—West: a city on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga County which shares a border with the city of Cleveland
  • Outer Ring—East: a city on the east side of the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga County which does not share a border with the city of Cleveland, and
  • Outer Ring—West: a city on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga County which does not share a border with the city of Cleveland. 

Meet the Team

Kristina Knight, PhD

Principal Investigator

Catherine Osborn, MA

Interim Project Manager & Data Architect 

Stephanie Pike Moore, PhD, Mp

Research Scientist

YRBS Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee enhances the work and provides valuable resources regarding future content of the questionnaire and dissemination of the results to the community at–large, and to those who work directly with our youth.

The Community Advisory Committee meets just four times per year. The purpose of the advisory committee is to provide assistance and recommendations in several areas: questionnaire content (June/July), recruitment of schools to participate (September/October), dissemination of data to the community (January/February), and policy impact (April/May). Valuable input from the community, permits us to better provide information about issues affecting the health and well-being of our youth and their families. Below is a list of our current advisory members and the organizations in which they represent:

Dominique Aaron, MEd
Youth Advocacy & Leadership Coalition Program
The Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County

Debbie Busdiecker, MEd, RN
Supervisor, Prevention & Wellness
Cuyahoga County Board of Health

Michael Carr, LSW,LPCC-S
Mental Health Navigator
Medical Clinic at Lakewood High School

Gabriella Celeste, J.D.
Policy Director, Co-Director, Childhood Studies Minor
Schubert Center for Child Studies
Case Western Reserve University

Maurice Cole, MPH
Grant Coordinator, Prevent Premature Fatherhood Program
Cuyahoga County Board of Health

Heather Corcoran, JD
Student Wellness Consultant
Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio

Rosemary Creeden, LISW-S
Associate Director, Trauma Services
Frontline Service

Nicholas D’Amico, PhD
Executive Director of School Performance
Cleveland Metropolitan School District 

Susan De Luca, MSW, PhD
Clinical Associate of Psychiatry 
The MetroHealth System 

Melissa Federman, MPH
Evaluation and Learning officer
The Nord Family Foundation

Gulnar Feerasta, MSSA, MNO
Director of Programs
LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Scott Frank, MD, MS
Associate Professor
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Meryl Johnson, M.Ed.
State of Ohio Board of Education

Andrew Morris, MPH
Director of Community Based Education, Master of Public Health Program
School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University

Ivette Noriega, PhD
Post-Doctoral Scholar
Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research & Education
Case Western Reserve University

Charmaine Pope
Program Officer
Family & Children First Council, Division of Community Initiatives
Office of Health and Human Services

Lisa Ramirez, PhD, ABPP
Director of Community and Behavioral Health
MetroHealth System

Zulayka Ruiz
Director of  Programs
Esperanza, Inc.

Sharon L. Stevens
Educator: Program Manager, RSB
Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Mary Louise Tatum, APRN PA III
Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center 
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 

Molly Wimbiscus, MD
Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Program Director
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Asst. Prof.

Blair Wise, MSW
Strategic Community Initiatives Manager 
MYCom Cleveland

Mary P. Wise, MSCE, MSW
Project AWARE Coordinator
Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County

Partners & Funders

From the time that the CDC unveiled its plans for a national YRBS system, stakeholders have advocated for and supported a local system, reasoning that the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of Cuyahoga County could be assumed not to be represented by the data collected at the state level. Since 1995 the Cuyahoga County Youth Risk Behavior Survey project has received support from each source listed below as well as others:

  • Frederick Robbins, MD Endowment
  • Nancy K. Johnson, MD Endowment
  • Woodruff Foundation
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation
  • George Gund Foundation
  • Cleveland Foundation
  • St. Luke’s Foundation
  • Mt. Sinai Foundation
  • Kaiser Permanente Foundation
  • Child & Family Health Services, CCBH
      • Beginning in Fall, 1999 – 2016
  • Family Children First Council (FCFC)
      • 2004-2006
  • Cuyahoga County Partnership for Tobacco Reduction (CCCPTR)
      • Fall, 2001 – 2008
  • CDC-STEPS to a Healthier Cleveland
      • Fall, 2004 – 2009
  • Drug Free Community Coalitions in Brecksville-Broadview Heights (CAPA Coalition), Shaker Prevention Coalition, SAY Coalition, Bridges of HOPE Coalition
      • Fall, 2000 – 2016
  • The Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio
  • CDC-Division of Adolescent and School Health: Promoting Adolescent Health through School-Based HIV Prevention

Several of the stakeholders noted above collaborated with the YRBS project to obtain behavioral risk factor data to meet reporting requirements for their individual initiatives in addition to obtaining the full complement of YRBS findings. The national project was designed as to permit individualization of the questionnaire and sample size, as long as core design and random sampling methodologies were followed. The nimble characteristics of the local project were possible only because of the structure and guidance provided by the CDC-DASH.

For questions about the YRBS projects, please contact Kristina Knight  by email at