Darwin Hendel, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and his collaborators, Karen Kaler and Gwendolyn Freed, presented the results of their study “The lives of Presidential Partners in Higher Education Institutions” at The Presidents Institute at a meeting of the Council of Independent Colleges in Orlando Florida. Their study was featured in the Inside Higher Education article “Gender Roles and Presidential Spouses.”
Amanda Sullivan, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., research associate at the Center for Early Education and Development, recently hosted a research-to-policy briefing to discuss whether the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) equally benefits children with and without special needs.
The CCDBG is a $5.3 billion block grant program that provides funding to states, territories, and tribes in an effort to increase access to quality care for low-income families with young children. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG and identified low-income children with special needs as a priority target population.
The briefing shared findings from a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research, Planning and Evaluation. For the project, Sullivan and Susman-Stillman analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of young children with and without special needs to determine whether children with special needs equally access child care subsidies and how child care subsidies affect use of various care types and quality.
Sullivan and Susman-Stillman’s analysis found that throughout early childhood, children with special needs are less likely to access subsidized child care and that subsidy use increased the likelihood that a family would use home- or center-based care. The analysis also found that subsidized children with special needs spend more hours in care than non-subsidized children with special needs, and that subsidy use does not ensure access to quality care.
According to Sullivan and Susman-Stillman, based on the study’s findings, stakeholders should address inequities in accessing subsidized care for children with special needs and reduce barriers parents and providers face in finding and supplying high-quality care.
Panayiota Kendeou, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s Psychological Foundations of Education program, recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, to present her work on the 12th biennial meeting of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC). Kendeou was part of a featured symposium–organized by two world-renowned experts on misinformation, Ullrich Ecker (The University of Western Australia) and Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol)–on research advances that reduce the impact of misinformation and fake news. At the event, Kendeou presented her work on the conditions that promote successful change of pre-existing beliefs in the context of her Knowledge Revision Components framework (KReC; Kendeou & O’Brien, 2014).
Dedicated to encouraging and promoting quality scientific research in applied domains, the SARMAC’s purpose is to enhance collaboration and co-operation between basic and applied researchers in memory and cognition.
Learn more about this and other work conducted in Kendeou’s Reading & Language lab.
Professor Hee Yun Lee, School of Social Work, is principal investigator for a $450,000 Special Interest Project Research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The grant will fund a mobile application intervention for low-income Hmong adolescents to facilitate completion of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine series. The research team includes community co-principal investigator Kathleen Culhane-Pera, M.D., medical director of the Westside Community Health Services, and co-investigator Jay Desai, Ph.D., research investigator at HealthPartners.
The team will use community based participatory action research to design an app tailored culturally and cognitively to low-income Hmong adolescents aged 11-17 years and their parents. HPV causes several types of cancers, but vaccines can prevent infection with the most common types of HPV. The vaccine is given in three shots over seven to eight months.
The app will be highly interactive, with multiple levels of participation. The researchers will also test the app’s effectiveness and establish a protocol to aid health care providers in identifying and engaging Hmong adolescents and their parents in its use.
Over winter break, Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology, is teaching a Global Seminar course in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of the U of M’s Learning Abroad programs. The course, titled “Empowering Girls Through Sport,” explores how in the Kenyan culture physical activity is used as a gateway to many aspects of life and how it can empower youth, especially girls.
Students, who are traveling in Kenya from December 26, 2016, to January 16, 2017, are blogging about their experiences: www.umninkenya2017.edublogs.org
Series kicks off Feb. 7 with discussion of retaining and engaging enrolled families
As part of ITR’s mission to connect leaders in the field of children’s mental health, we are excited to announce our 2017 Colloquia Series, featuring three discussions on new research from ITR faculty. Space is limited, so reserve your spot early — e-mail ITR@umn.edu to RSVP.
Feb. 7 – Project INTERFACE: Promoting Parent Engagement in Parent Education Programs | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Richard M. Lee and Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman
Problems in engaging and retaining enrolled families is a significant barrier to reaping the effects of evidence-based parenting interventions. Studies show modest rates of enrollment and retention in evidence-based parent training particularly among racial/ethnic minority families. We will describe our work to develop and test a brief group-based engagement and retention priming module for families from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
The work was funded by a seed grant from ITR in 2015.
About Dr. Lee: Rich’s research interests are in understanding the psychological aspects of culture, ethnicity and race that function as risk and protective factors for well-being, mental health, and achievement in ethnic and racial minority populations. Dr. Lee has received NIH, NSF, and foundation funding to support his research.(Full bio)
About Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman: Dr. Wackerle-Hollman is an educational psychologist with a passion for engaging communities and young children to improve child and family outcomes. Alisha’s interest focuses on two primary strands of research: a clinical foci on parenting education and development and an applied foci centralized around early childhood assessment and intervention.(Full bio)
March 27 – Personalizing Treatment for Adolescent Depression: Challenges and Opportunities | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel
There are now a number of evidence-based interventions for adolescent depression; however, many adolescents who receive one of these interventions do not respond. There is increasing recognition that treating depression more effectively requires taking into account individual differences and providing adolescents with treatment that is optimally matched and adapted over time to their individual characteristics, needs, and circumstances. In this presentation, I will discuss our work developing and evaluating personalized interventions for adolescent depression.
About Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel: Meredith’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for adolescent depression. She has a particular interest in the development of adaptive interventions, which provide clinical guidelines for selecting, combining, and sequencing interventions to personalize the intervention approach. (Full bio)
May 2 – An alternative model of personalized interventions: Findings from an adoption study | 3:30-5p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Leslie Leve
It is widely known that parents play a crucial role in their child’s development, ranging from the disciplinary practices they engage in, to the quality of their own interparental relationship, to the educational context they provide. However, there is increasing evidence that genetic influences play a role in these associations, sometimes via their moderating role in increasing or decreasing children’s susceptibility to these environmental experiences, and other times because they shape the types of environments that children are exposed to.
This presentation focuses on the interplay between inherited and environmental influences on child development by describing findings from an adoption study where children were reared from birth by unrelated caregivers. The relevance of children’s inherited predispositions in the design and delivery of preventive interventions will also be discussed.
Dr. Leslie Leve is a developmental psychologist who has used natural experimental designs to examine the interplay between social and inherited influences on child and adolescent development. This includes adoption studies where children have been reared by unrelated caregivers, intervention studies with children in foster care, and studies of siblings who have been reared apart since birth. Leslie is the Associate Director of the Prevention Science Institute and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. She currently serves as President-Elect of the Society for Prevention Research. Her research is currently funded by NIH and IES.
On December 6, Kelly Nye-Lengerman from the College’s Institute on Community Integration received the AUCD Young Professional Award during the AUCD annual conference in Washington, DC. This award is presented to professionals in the disabilities field under the age of 40 who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to people with developmental disabilities and their families through their work as a bridge between the academic sector and the community.
In October, Anab Gulaid from the college’s Institute on Community Integration was invited to join the National Advisory Committee for the Diversity & Inclusion Training Action Plan (D&I-TAP), a one-year project funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the project is to research, develop, and disseminate a D&I-TAP for the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), of which ICI is a member. Gulaid’s committee duties began in November.
Martha Thurlow, director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the college’s Institute on Community Integration, participated in the White House Convening on Better, Fairer, and Fewer Assessments in Washington, D.c., on Dec. 7.
The convening brought together about 100 representatives from states, districts, and schools, as well as researchers, and assessment developers. The purpose was to discuss how to improve assessments and reduce the burden of redundant assessments, consistent with the Obama Testing Action Plan released in October 2015.
Thurlow (pictured here, center) participated in a panel discussion on better, fairer, and fewer assessments. Representing the “fairer” aspect of the convening, she responded to questions from Gene Wilhoit, director of the National Center for Innovation in Education, and the audience. Thurlow also collaborated with Jose Blackorby of CAST in a breakout session focused on increasing accessibility.
“It was a great opportunity to ensure that the development of innovative assessments and efforts to reduce the number of assessments continue to ensure that the results are fair to all students, including those with disabilities and those who are English learners,” noted Thurlow.
NCEO provides national leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that appropriately monitor educational results for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are English Language Learners. NCEO receives funding from the federal government, states, and other organizations.
A recent MinnPost feature story highlights the Center for Resilient Families, a new national center housed at ITR aimed at raising awareness of, and increasing access to, family interventions that promote resilience in traumatized children.
From the article:
Kids do well when their parents do well.
Thanks to a new $3 million, five–year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the University of Minnesota’s new Center for Resilient Families will work to shore up the health of traumatized families nationwide through the promotion of parenting interventions that have been found through rigorous testing to be effective at strengthening resilience.
While the theory that strong parents create strong families has been accepted for years, much attention of late has been centered on creating services that focus on the unique needs of children in at-risk environments.
That’s important, said Center for Resilient Families Project Director Abi Gewirtz, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science and Institute of Child Development, but it’s also important to dig deeper, to help support families from the ground up by supporting the emotional health of parents.
“Too often, we tend to treat the kid that’s experienced trauma alone instead of treating the whole family,” Gewirtz said. “With this new center, we are focused on improving mental health for traumatized families by improving parents’ parenting skills.”
Faculty in the College of Education and Human Development are engaged in diverse areas of research, teaching, and service in the community. As they look ahead, many of them are expressing insights and creating communities of discussion to improve all lives in this country and around the world.
Here is a sampling of some of their viewpoints that have been published:
- Bill Doherty, professor in the Department of Family Social Science, uses his expertise as a psychologist and family counselor to talk about how people can converse with each other across great divisions in a democracy in a MinnPost Q&A. In the piece, Doherty talks about forming the group Citizen Therapists for Democracy, which focuses on naming and calling out anti-democratic ideologies and practices as well as creating opportunities for grass-roots democracies to be revived.
- David W. Johnson, emeritus professor of in the Department of Educational Psychology, wrote a blog post for Psychology Today on “Why false news endangers democracy.” In the post, Johnson outlines eight steps needed for political discourse based on cooperative learning theory.
- Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, wrote an op-ed for The Huffington Post: “Muslim Registry Would Be Hideous-And Thoroughly American.” It examines the history of racialized surveillance in the U.S. and the possibilities of resisting and confronting this latest version.
- And see more in Connect magazine’s “Making democracy work: CEHD alumni, faculty, and staff talk about their passions as engaged citizens.”
Global sporting goods manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods Company introduced a new line of high-technology performance tennis rackets that were field-tested in the School of Kinesiology’s Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) directed by Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D. The participants were experts recruited from the U of M varsity tennis men’s and women’s teams, and testing took place at the U of M Tennis Center.
In tennis, the ball hitting the racket during tennis strokes induces a vibration of the racket frame, which transfers to the arm of the players. High vibration transfer may cause discomfort, induce earlier onset of fatigue and, with repeated exposure, increases injury risk. A racket design that can effectively reduce vibration transfer from the racket to the player’s arm should mitigate these negative vibration effects and aid to stabilize or improve a player’s performance.
Thus Wilson used Countervail technology, a one-of-a-kind layered carbon fiber that was originally designed for the aerospace industry to dissipate vibrational energy in airplanes. Strategic amounts of this material were incorporated into their new Blade performance tennis racket. HSCL measured the vibration in the rackets and determined how much these vibrations transferred to the arm, then compared the vibration behavior of this new design to another commercially available racket. In addition, the electrical signals from several arm muscles were recorded during the play to obtain electrophysiological markers of muscle fatigue.
A main finding of the study is that the new Countervail technology effectively reduces the vibration at the racket, which potentially can help players play longer while maintaining the precision of their strokes.
Read about the announcement on the 10sBalls.com blog.
Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), wrote an op-ed article for The Huffington Post: Muslim Registry Would Be Hideous-And Thoroughly American. It examines the history of racialized surveillance in the U.S. and the possibilities of resisting and confronting this latest version.
“But taking a look at Trump’s proposals against a long history of racial and religious surveillance provides a larger, and even more disturbing landscape. Because, for one, it is shocking to find that this kind of program is nothing new. And, second, programs like the ones he’s suggesting have provided no discernible benefit for the shame of betraying the rights of our neighbors.”
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs recently awarded associate professors Robin Codding and Amanda Sullivan with a $1,192,606 leadership development grant (over five years from 2016-2021). The project, Leaders Enhancing Evidence-based Practices (Project LEEP), funds fellowships designed to prepare future faculty in school psychology with expertise in applying and sustaining evidence-based practices to schools. Five students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program were awarded LEEP fellowships: Jordan Thayer, Alaa Houri, Aria Fiat, Kourtney McNallan, and Madeline Larson.
Project LEEP fellows are trained in: data-based decision making; development and evaluation of evidence-based practices; prevention and intervention using evidence-based practices, and consultation and translation of interventions; as well as leadership competencies in instruction and mentoring in higher education, and research and dissemination. Students receiving the award must complete a variety of experiences—coursework in research methods and statistics, research related to multi tier systems of support (MTSS), and apprenticeships with faculty with related research interests.
In addition, fellows attend monthly pro-seminars that provide professional development opportunities for pursuing a career as a faculty member. Past pro-seminar topics have included: finding your “fit” in a faculty position based on professional values and goals; types of faculty positions available in the field of school psychology; and what is tenure and how to successfully achieve it. Future Project LEEP pro-seminars will help fellows identify their professional goals and structure training plans to meet the benchmarks needed to obtain a faculty position upon graduation.
Frances Vavrus, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), was an invited speaker in the Faculty of Education and Social Work Dean’s Lecture Series, which is part of the University of Sydney Ideas program. The lecture, entitled When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t: Comparative Pedagogies and Epistemological Diversity in Education, was presented on Wednesday, November 16th. Professor Vavrus was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Sydney for the month of November.
Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and Maria Hantzopoulos, associate professor at Vasser College, co-authored a blog post titled In a Time of Islamophobia, Teach with Complexity on the Teaching Tolerance website.
“When teaching about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), U.S. teachers are often confronted with a dearth of accurate and nuanced material about the history, politics and people of the region. This crisis of critical awareness mainly materializes through two recurring narratives that circulate in mainstream media, political discourse and popular culture: “Islam as anti-Western” and conflict fueled by “ancient hatreds.”
A Special section in Development and Psychopathology, 28 (4 part 2), 2016, dedicated to topics presented at the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR)’s Inaugural Symposium entitled “Epigenetics: Development, Psychopathology, Resilience and Preventive Intervention,” was recently published by Cambridge University Press.
The three-day symposium in May 2015 focused on epigenetics, the study of how DNA methylation affects gene expression and mental and physical health. The symposium featured leading researchers investigating topics ranging from the way experiences of parents can impact DNA methylation to how child maltreatment can affect how genes are expressed and lead to mental and physical health risks. Each presenter contributed an article to this Special Section of the Journal.
The 2015 symposium was the brainchild of ITR’s Director of Research, Dante Cicchetti. Dr. Cicchetti is a pioneer in the field of developmental psychopathology and is the founding and current editor of Development and Psychopathology. He is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) as one of their top grantees, achieving an award rate in the 95th percentile for the past 25 years, and has published over 475 articles, books, and journal special issues. His research spans developmental psychopathology, child maltreatment, developmental neuroscience, gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, mood disorders, personality disorders, and multilevel Randomized Control Trial (RCT) preventive interventions to inform developmental theory.
Direction of the symposium rotates each year among ITR’s three core faculty. Our second annual symposium this fall was initiated by ITR Director of Training & Education, Dr. Gerry August, and focused on precision care; the 2017 event will be directed by ITR Director, Dr. Abi Gewirtz. Highlighting cutting edge research and connecting leading researchers and practitioners is one of the many ways ITR works to bridge the vast gap between research and practice in children’s mental health.
See the full list of articles in this Special Section here.
Dr. Gerry August, one of the Institute for Tranlsational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR)’s three core faculty members, was part of a cross-discipline team of researchers recently awarded one of the University of Minnesota’s coveted Grand Challenge grants.
The collaborative team of researchers — known as the Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative (MPMC) — will explore how new technologies can better tailor health care to the needs of individual patients. Applying precision-based health care techniques to address children’s mental health issues is one of Dr. August’s specialties; in October he directed the second-annual ITR symposium that focused on personalized, precision-based care.
The Grand Challenges research program is a key part of the University’s Strategic Plan vision to address critical challenges to Minnesota and the world. The University is investing $3.6 million to fund a slate of faculty research collaborations aimed at five research priorities:
- Advancing health through tailored solutions
- Feeding the world sustainably
- Assuring clean water and sustainable ecosystems
- Fostering just and equitable communities
- Engaging individual and community capacity for a changing world.
ITR is committed to address the gap between research and practice in children’s mental health and uses an interdisciplinary, team-based setup to support researchers from many background and cultivates new ways of approaching problems.
From the project description:
Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative: Transforming health and advancing equity
The Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative (MPMC) is a transformative initiative to use 21st century technologies – including genomics, informatics, bioengineering, analysis of environmental exposures, and behavioral sciences – to tailor health care to the challenges facing individuals and their communities. This ambitious approach will fundamentally alter our understanding of health, disease prevention, and treatment. Core to this project is partnering across the state of Minnesota with citizens, patients, and healthcare providers to understand and effectively address major health problems.
MPMC will create a living laboratory, starting with demonstration projects on Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer, and depression. All three are diseases whose incidence, burden, and mortality rates reveal disturbing health disparities. This focus will enable us to leverage University of Minnesota research strengths across many disciplines and to engage with partners in the health industry and Minnesota’s underserved communities. Together we will create affordable, mobile tools to speed research, better deliver health information, and advance health for all. [Full description]
Since 9/11, more than 1 million parents have been deployed to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. For those parents, the difference between parenting before deployment and after returning home is stark — and not well studied
A new book co-edited by Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, Institute Director at ITR, examines crucial questions around parenting and military deployment in the 21st Century. Parenting and Children’s Resilience in Military Families, edited by Gewirtz and Adriana M. Youssef, explores questions like:
“How does deployment influence parenting? How is parenting of the at-home caregiver affected by the absence of the deployed parent? How might effective parenting at different child developmental stages mitigate children’s worries and fears about their deployed parent and promote healthy adjustment? How might the experience of motherhood be changed by military service in general and deployment in particular? How are deployed fathers influential for their children’s development and adjustment, and how can they be supported in these efforts? And, how might military parents transmit military cultural values, such as service, to their children?”
Gewirtz in a nationally recognized leader in research on trauma, resilience, parenting, and promoting children’s healthy development. Among her major research projects is the After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) program, which develops tools to support parenting and resilience among military families coping with the stress of deployment and reintegration.
Affiliation provides mental health services for families and hands-on training for students
This summer we at the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR) announced an exciting affiliation between ITR, the University of Minnesota and the Family Innovations Counseling and Training Center.
In its first half-year the clinic has provided hundreds of hours of service based on evidence-based interventions to Twin Cities families. Through our affiliation, the clinic has also provided hands-on training for students preparing for a career in mental health, helping reach our goals of translating discoveries in children’s mental health research into practice and providing training in evidence-based practices that students often have difficulty finding for their practicum experience.
The clinic leases space within ITR’s office building located near downtown Minneapolis, offering convenient access to the families it serves. It is one of 11 Family Innovations outpatient clinics in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.