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Eckenrode recognized with Nicholas Hobbs Award

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Eckenrode with the Nicholas Hobbs Award

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The BCTR’s John Eckenrode received the Nicholas Hobbs Award from the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, Division 37 of the American Psychological Association (APA), dedicated to applying psychological knowledge to advocacy, social justice, service delivery, and public policies affecting children, youth, and families.

Eckenrode is a professor of human development and founder of the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect, which he now co-directs with Professor Chris Wildeman. His research focuses on child abuse and neglect, the effects of preventive interventions, translational research, and stress and coping processes.

“John has spent his entire academic career doing research and organizing advocacy in the service of vulnerable children and their families,” said Stephen Ceci, professor of developmental psychology in the College of Human Ecology. “What stands out most in my opinion is John’s continuous success obtaining funding from the Children’s Bureau (DHHS) to create and support the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. This center is a gold mine for researchers in this area and John has expertly guided and managed it for a long time and invited scholars from around the world to use its resources.”

The Nicholas Hobbs award is presented annually to a psychologist who exemplifies devotion to child advocacy. The award is named for psychologist Nicholas Hobbs, a past president of the American Psychological Association who organized a national effort to standardize and disseminate diagnostic procedures for classifying and categorizing children with special needs.

Eckenrode received the award in August at the 125th Annual APA Convention in Washington, D.C.

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Bronfenbrenner Centennial Lecture: Nicholas Kristof, Monday, October 2, 2017

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A Path Appears: Promoting the Welfare of Children
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Monday, October 2, 2017
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall



 

Urie Bronfenbrenner Centennial Lecture

On the 100th anniversary of his birth, we celebrate Urie Bronfenbrenner's contributions to child wellbeing by welcoming Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times to deliver this lecture. Bronfenbrenner and Kristof share an interest in protecting the rights of children and in the ways citizens and policymakers can act positively to change our society for the better.

Kristof argues that the greatest moral challenge of the 21st century, akin to fighting slavery in the 19th century or totalitarianism in the 20th century, is gender inequity around the world. Drawing from his No. 1 best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, he explores some of the kinds of repression women face, from sexual violence to early marriage to female genital mutilation. But above all, he notes that there is a huge gain to be had if a society educates girls and ushers those educated women into the labor force. Kristof also explores areas in which the West has more to do at home to create gender equity, including domestic violence and sex trafficking.

 

event-kristof-inpostNew York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries. During his travels, he has caught malaria, experienced wars, confronted warlords, and survived an African airplane crash. Kristof has won two Pulitzer Prizes in the process – advocating human rights and giving a voice to the voiceless.

In 1990 Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a New York Times journalist, became the first husband-wife team to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Kristof won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for what the judges called “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world.” Kristof and WuDunn have written four best-selling books: Half the Sky, A Path Appears, China Wakes, and Thunder from the East. Half the Sky and A Path Appears each inspired a prime-time PBS documentary series. Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed Kristof as “an honorary African” for his reporting on conflicts there, and President Bill Clinton said, “There is no one in journalism, anywhere in the United States at least, who has done anything like the work he has done to figure out how poor people are actually living around the world, and what their potential is.”

After joining The New York Times in 1984, Kristof served as a correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He has covered presidential politics, interviewed everyone from President Obama to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and was the first blogger on The New York Times website. A documentary about him, Reporter (executive-produced by Ben Affleck), aired on HBO. He has won innumerable awards including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Anne Frank Award, and the Fred Cuny Award for Prevention of Armed Conflict. He also serves on the board of Harvard University and the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.

Jeffrey Toobin of CNN, his Harvard classmate, said of Kristof, "I’m not surprised to see him emerge as the moral conscience of our generation of journalists. I am surprised to see him as the Indiana Jones of our generation of journalists.” George Clooney, said himself, that he became engaged in Sudan after reading Kristof columns, and traveled with Kristof to the fringes of Darfur – rooming with him on the floor of a cheap hotel – motivating Clooney to make this video of Kristof.

Follow Nicholas Kristof on Facebook and Twitter

Book signing to follow the lecture

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Bronfenbrenner talk highlights inequalities in children’s health

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_R2T0680.jpgBy Stephen D'Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

University of Pittsburgh professor Karen Matthews explored biological links to persistent social inequalities in childhood health during the 2017 Bronfenbrenner Lecture, held June 15 in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall.

Hosted by the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research in the College of Human Ecology, Matthews guided nearly 50 audience members through the most recent research on the inequality in health between children in different socio-economic groups.

“I was given the task of trying to lay out some of the key biological pathways that might be important in understanding connections between the social environment and children’s health,” said Matthews, a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and professor of epidemiology, psychology, and clinical and translational science at Pittsburgh. “And this is really a daunting task because there are so many things that impinge on children’s development that are important in this context; one could spend an entire semester on this topic.”

The lecture highlighted the mission of the Bronfenbrenner Center and the work of the late Cornell scientist Urie Bronfenbrenner, whose ecological systems theory recognized the need to consider multiple levels of interacting influences on a child’s development, including family, community and the greater culture.

Matthews’ work addresses the psychosocial and biological connections between socio-demographic factors and poor health; the development of cardiovascular behavioral risk factors in childhood and adolescence; the influence of menopause on women’s health; and the role of stress-induced physiological responses and sleep in the etiology of heart disease and hypertension.

Matthews stressed that poverty and low socio-economic standing are about more than dollars and cents; they also involve a slew of environmental and psychological factors that can impact a child’s development. Family turmoil, exposure to community violence, early childhood separation, substandard housing and exposure to toxins, noise and crowding all can impact a child’s health, she said.

“As you can imagine, poverty in childhood is not simply low income relative to needs, but also exposure to disadvantaged environments more generally,” she said. “Research points to 65 percent of median-income children in the analysis had zero or one of these particular exposures, whereas the poor had three to four.”

Matthews also reviewed how day-to-day factors can impact several of a child’s physiological systems including the cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory and sympathetic nervous systems.

“A number of the theories of how low socio-economic status or poverty gets under the skin of children have to do with exposure to chronic stress,” Matthews said. “Emotional stressors impact the cerebral cortex, which in turn impacts the hypothalamus, which activates corticotropin-releasing hormone and eventually leads to the release of cortisol.”

Cortisol, a byproduct of chronic stress, increases the risk of numerous health problems including anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain and concentration impairment, she said.

“You can imagine that this environment would not be conducive to positive children’s health,” Matthews said.

Matthews concluded the lecture with ideas for, and a small discussion about, future research focusing both on additional physiological parameters as well as holistic data measurement and research design that narrows down models for easier analysis.

She also discussed interventions that are considered low-hanging fruit. These include policy changes to prevent exposure to toxins, such as lead exposure through water pipes, and public service commitments to inform families about the research to help them make changes at home.

Bronfenbrenner talk highlights inequalities in children's health - Cornell Chronicle

 

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2017 Bronfenbrenner Lecture: Karen Matthews, Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Karen Matthews

Biological Pathways in Childhood Poverty, Health, Well-being, and Behavior
Karen Matthews, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Thursday, June 15, 2017
9:00 - 10:00 AM
G71 MVR Hall



There are strong and ubiquitous social gradients in childhood health. This talk will examine underlying biological explanations for social inequalities in child health and lay out some strategies for improving research on these pathways. Professor Matthews will review several physiological systems including HPA axis, cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory, and the sympathetic nervous system. She will then go in detail about sleep, the brain, and metabolic dysregulation including obesity. Ideas for future research will focus both on additional physiological parameters as well as measurement and research design issues.

Dr. Karen Matthews is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Epidemiology, Psychology, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is Program Director of the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Research Training Program.  Her work addresses the psychosocial and biological pathways connecting sociodemographic factors and poor health; development of cardiovascular behavioral risk factors in childhood and adolescence; the influence of menopause on women’s health; and the role of stress-induced physiological responses and sleep in the etiology of heart disease and hypertension.   Dr. Matthews is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.  She has previously served as Editor-in-Chief of Health Psychology, and as President of the American Psychosomatic Society and the Health Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association (APA).  Dr. Matthews has won a number of honors, including the 2005 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Applications of Psychology and awards from the American Heart Association, APA Health Psychology and Pediatric Psychology Divisions, Society of Behavioral Medicine, North American Menopause Society, American Psychosomatic Society, and the Association of Psychological Science.  She received her B.A. degree from University of California at Berkeley, her Ph. D. from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Ph.D. (Honoris Causa) from University of Helsinki, Finland. 

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Spring 2017 Talks at Twelve

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This semester we welcome speakers from across campus and across the U.S. for our spring 2017 Talks at Twelve series. Talks at Twelve are held in the Beebe Hall second floor conference room and lunch is served. These talks are free and open to all. No RSVP or registration is required, but notice is appreciated if a larger group is planning to attend (email pmt6@cornell.edu).

 

Wednesday, February 22, 12:00-1:00pm
Mental and Behavioral Health Facilities: Critical Research and Design Recommendations
Mardelle M. Shepley, Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

 

 

comfortTuesday, March 7, 12:00-1:00pm
Beyond the Peer-Reviewed Article: Making Research Relevant for Community Stakeholders and Policymakers
Megan Comfort, Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Research Division, Research Triangle Institute

 

 

Thursday, March 16, 12:00-1:00pm
Pain and Presence: The Clinical Use of Media
Andrea Stevenson Won, Communication, Cornell University

 

 

 

Thursday, April 13, 12:00-1:00pm
Healthy Base Initiative: Evaluating Programs to Encourage Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles, and Tobacco-Free Living
Marney Thomas, BCTR, Cornell University

 

 

Thursday, April 20, 12:00-1:00pm
Data Driven Policy-Making in Child Welfare
Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 25, 12:00-1:00pm
Weill Cornell Behavioral Geriatrics: Cognitive Impairment in Hospitalized Adults & Palliative & Mental Health Care
Elissa Kozlov and Keiko Kurita, Weill Cornell Medical College

 

 

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Talks at Twelve: Dana Weiner, Thursday, April 20, 2017

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Data-Driven Policy Making in Child Welfare
Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

Thursday, April 20, 2017
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



Dr. Weiner will address the challenges and opportunities associated with using data and research evidence to inform decision making in public policy.  Based on her extensive experience working within and around child welfare jurisdictions to innovate practice, align policy, and implement programs, her talk will identify key strategies for successfully incorporating new knowledge into service delivery in ways that are meaningful for leadership, staff, and (most importantly) the children and families served by these systems.  This discussion will include vivid examples of policy questions and the empirical answers that may guide innovation, as well as a discussion of the hazards and costs of uninformed policy decision making.

Dana Weiner is a policy fellow at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, where she provides analytic consultation and policy guidance to child welfare jurisdictions across the country.  Dr. Weiner teaches Data for Policy Analysis and Management to master's students at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, and her research has focused on quantifying resource accessibility - analyzing the role of geospatial relationships in child welfare systems - and on evaluating the implementation of evidence-based models in child welfare and juvenile justice contexts.

 

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Botanic Gardens lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Patty at pmt6@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

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Conference spotlights consequences of parental incarceration

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By H. Roger Segelken for the Cornell Chronicle:

haskins

Anna Haskins speaking

With millions of American parents, mostly fathers, locked in jails and prisons, a national conference at Cornell Sept. 15-16 shined the spotlight on their kids back home.

“Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children” was the topic of the Fifth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference, featuring a multidisciplinary mix of scholars from more than a dozen institutions and programs.

“One of the most shocking phenomena this country has witnessed in the last century has been the unprecedented rise in mass incarceration,” said conference co-organizer Anna Haskins, Cornell assistant professor of sociology and member of the Center for the Study of Inequality. An estimated 1 in 14 American children (about 7 percent) has a parent incarcerated at some point in their young lives, observed Haskins. Of special concern, she emphasized, “is the overwhelming disparity in which this issue touches African-American and Hispanic but not white populations.”

Haskins hopes the conference opens new areas of inquiry for social scientists. “We know more about the deleterious consequences for imprisoned individuals and former inmates,” she said, “but less attention has been paid to the broader fallout for families.”

The conference series and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) are named for Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005), the renowned developmental psychologist who taught at Cornell for more than 50 years and developed the so-called ecological systems theory. Several conference-goers said the ecological approach could help to untangle incarceration’s effect on family and society.

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Christopher Wildeman speaking

Christopher Wildeman, associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and associate professor of policy analysis and management, speaks at the conference.
Said conference co-organizer Christopher Wildeman, BCTR associate director and associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology: “The conference’s multidisciplinary focus, in addition to being highly consistent with Urie’s own academic orientation, is also unique within this research field – where psychologists, sociologists, economists and criminologists who study the consequences of parental incarceration rarely publish in the same journals, attend the same conferences or grapple with each others’ perspectives.”

One productive outcome of the conference, Wildeman said, will be a proceedings volume with authors from all those fields, published by the American Psychological Association.

A third conference co-organizer, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, professor of human ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that “developmental perspectives are lacking” so far in most studies of incarceration’s consequences. Scholars need to know “how parental incarceration can get under the skin of children and influence through an entire life course.” When considering a child’s resilience in the face of parental incarceration, Poehlmann-Tynan said, researchers should remember “resilience is a process, not a characteristic or trait.” Some children appear to do surprisingly well during parental incarceration, she said. “We can’t paint the picture that parental incarceration (inevitably) is doom.”

Sara Wakefield, an associate professor in the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice (and co-author, with Wildeman, of “Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality”) sought to correct some popular misconceptions. Many parents hide their criminal activity from their children – until, that is, they’re arrested, prosecuted and punished, she said. Furthermore, long sentences in state or federal prisons aren’t the only source of stigma and trauma among convicts’ children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans cycle through local jails every month, Wakefield said, “and even short spells in jail are highly consequential for children.”

Sociologist Kristin Turney, from the University of California, Irvine, highlighted possible effects of parental incarceration, including strains on parental relationships, economic well-being and health, and suggested children might develop behavior problems or experience diminished cognitive skills. Among the youngest children of incarcerated parents, boys seem to be most affected, Turney said. But as children mature, girls are more likely to be troubled by a father’s incarceration.

Joyce Arditti, professor of human development and family studies at Virginia Tech, reported some children growing up with an incarcerated biological parent they never knew – outside or inside prison walls – can still be affected by that stigmatizing association.

As for the Bronfenbrenner conference venue as an apt place to discuss family-ecological perspectives of child development, Arditti said: “It’s kind of cool to be here in his ‘backyard.’”

Conference spotlights consequences of parental incarceration - Cornell Chronicle

Video of the full conference is available on our YouTube channel and in the media library on this web site.

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Doing Translational Research podcast: Marianella Casasola

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casasolaIn this episode of the Doing Tranlsational Research podcast Karl Pillemer talks with Marianella Casasola about her work examining infant cognitive development, early word learning, and early spatial cognition. Dr. Casasola talks about her experiences partnering with Head Start to do research, details of her more recent findings, and she gives some advice that any new parent can easily employ to boost infant learning.

Marianella Casasola is an associate professor of human development and a faculty fellow of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) at Cornell University. She studies infant cognitive development and early word learning with a particular interest in the interaction between thought and language during the first few years of development. She is especially interested in the emergence of spatial concepts, the early acquisition of spatial language, and the interplay between spatial cognition and spatial language in infants and young children.

Doing Translational Research episode 7: Talk to Your Child with Marianella Casasola

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Conference explores Building a Community of Practice

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news-2015rccpconf-inpostThe Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted its fourth international RCCP Conference this summer in Lake George, NY. The conference brings together professionals who work with vulnerable children and families to explore ways to provide the best care for the populations they serve.

Approximately 250 people from 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, N. Ireland, Bermuda, Ireland, Burundi, Israel, Switzerland, Uganda, and South Korea, as well as 18 different states, attended.

In keeping with this year’s theme, Building a Community of Practice, the event encouraged conversation and collaboration through a variety of workshops, community of practice forums, and social events. The unique format included:

  • Community of Practice forums where professionals met in facilitated groups to share experiences and learn from each other.
  • Children and Family Experiences sessions where attendees heard the voices of children, families, and adults who live or have lived in care settings.
  • Stories of Practice sessions where professionals could record their stories of experiences with children and families in order to share them with other professionals.  RCCP plans to release the stories of practice recordings in a series on their web site.
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) program instructors and Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) practice model consultants were available to answer questions about their program's implementation and training.
  • Workshops on understanding self-injury, research, proposal writing, trauma and healing, CARE principles and implementation, TCI implementation, threshold concepts, TCI training innovations using modern media, and many others.

The conference opened with a performance of original songs by The Hillside Youth Voice Band, made up of children in care from the Varick Campus, which is part of the Hillside Family of Agencies in Rochester, NY. Songs included,“I’m Gonna be Me,” “Can You See Who We Are,” and “You Make a Difference.”

Highlights included presentations by Anthony Burrow on Purpose in Life: Evidence of a Psychological Resource, Howard Bath on Translating Trauma: From Complexity to Clarity, Junelei Li on Simple and Deep Right Before Our Eyes – Simple Interactions as the Active Ingredient for Human Development, Xavier McElrath-Bey with No Child Is Born Bad, and John Lyons on Managing the Business of Personal Change: Transformation Collaborative Outcomes Management.

Keynote speaker Xavier McElrath-Bey has noted,

My childhood traumas of living in poverty, having a mother diagnosed with mental illness, living in fear of an abusive step-father, and being placed in and out of foster care made me ripe for the occasions of impulsive and destructive behavior -- especially gang involvement which gave me the sense of having a new family.

I am a firm believer that no child is born bad...and that all children deserve another chance for positive change.

The final event of the conference, was the panel presentation Children and Families Speak out on “What Works.” The panel was moderated by James Anglin and featured youth and young adults formerly in care and parents of children/youth who have been in care facilities. Panelists spoke of the pain and difficulties surrounding being in care, but also of facility staff that helped and encouraged both the youth in care and their families.

Please see the conference page for further information, including some presentation powerpoints.

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Doing Translational Research podcast: Marianella Casasola

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Talk to Your Child
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Marianella Casasola
Department of Human Development, Cornell University

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