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BCTR and the new Cornell Center for Health Equity


From right, Drs. Avery August and Monika Safford, co-directors of the Center for Health Equity, celebrate the center's opening with Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. David Satcher, the founding director of and senior adviser to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Cornell Tri-Campus Health Equity Symposium, March 15-16 at Weill Cornell Medicine.

From right, Drs. Avery August and Monika Safford, co-directors of the Center for Health Equity, celebrate the center's opening with Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. David Satcher, the founding director of and senior adviser to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Cornell Tri-Campus Health Equity Symposium, March 15-16 at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Adapted by Sheri Hall for the BCTR from an article by Timothy Malcolm for the Cornell Chronicle

The newly-formed Cornell Center for Health Equity (CCHEq) held its inaugural symposium on March 15 and 16 at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. David Satcher’s keynote address emphasized that health equity means “everyone has the opportunity to achieve their highest state of health.”

The CCHEq brings together researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell’s Ithaca campus, and Cornell’s Tech Campus in NYC. Together they will work to better understand why health outcomes vary among demographic groups and generate new evidence on how to eliminate health disparities with the goal of achieving health equity for people locally, regionally, and nationally.

Portrait of Jennifer Tiffany

Jennifer Tiffany

Jennifer Tiffany, BCTR’s director of outreach and community engagement is a key faculty member working with the CCHEq. Tiffany also serves as the

executive director of Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s New York City programs (CUCE-NYC) and leads the Community Engagement in Research team at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Center.  These roles enable her to work with the CCHEq to bring together researchers from New York City and Ithaca and to promote partnerships with communities, practitioners, and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).

“At a time when economic inequality within the U.S. and New York state is extreme and rising, working actively to promote health equity is particularly crucial,” Tiffany said. “Partnerships with communities that experience extreme health disparities are vital to this work, as are the kinds of multidisciplinary and cross-campus partnerships the CCHEq seeks to develop and sustain. The BCTR has strong interests, resources, and capabilities in all of these areas.”

Tiffany and Elaine Wethington, an associate director of the BCTR, both participated in the March symposium. Tiffany presented on “Using Geospatial Mapping to Plan and Assess Programs" as part of the session on community-partnered research. She also participated in a panel called "Building a Sustainable Community-Engaged Research Program.”

Portrait of Elaine Wethington

Elaine Wethington

Wethington, who is co-director and director of pilot studies of the BCTR’s Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life, has been working for over a year with CCHEq investigators and other Ithaca-based investigators on proposal submissions through the CCHeq. She has also recruited other Ithaca investigators to take part in proposals and other collaborative projects with CCHEq.

“I hope that many other Ithaca faculty follow me in affiliating with the Center for Health Equity,” Wethington said. “Collaboration with the CCHEq is an outstanding opportunity for social scientists to partner on research projects that will have immediate application to improve the lives of New Yorkers living with disadvantage.”

The CCHEq will address disparities in heart disease, stroke, and cancer outcomes in disadvantaged minority communities in the diverse, urban New York City area, as well as in more rural regions of New York state. Working with organizations and providers deeply engaged in their communities, including caregivers and local health centers, the investigators will analyze the role of policy, societal biases, socio-economic status, educational attainment, health care providers, and the home and family environment in overcoming these disparate health outcomes.

For one of its projects, the CCHEq is engaging with Afro-Caribbean communities that increasingly use New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Using data showing higher prevalence of hypertension among populations of African descent, center investigators are working with colleagues at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist to plan events that encourage residents to be screened and receive treatment for hypertension. They hope that these activities will also motivate residents to be screened for common cancers – including breast, colon, and prostate cancers – that are also of higher prevalence in African-descent communities.

Along with that work, the CCHEq hopes to use data collected by Dr. Margaret McNairy, the Bonnie Johnson Sacerdote Clinical Scholar in Women’s Health and an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, on the prevalence of emerging cardiovascular diseases in Haiti. Her work may become useful in identifying and promoting treatment of cardiovascular diseases in Haitian communities in New York City, said Dr. Monika Safford, co-director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity and chief of general internal medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

In Ithaca, Rebecca Seguin-Fowler, associate professor of nutritional sciences in the Colleges of Human Ecology and of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is seeking to reduce heart disease risk factors among women in the central, upstate, and Finger Lakes regions of the New York. In one project, called Strong Hearts, Healthy Communities, Seguin-Fowler is collaborating with CCE educators and the Bassett Healthcare Network’s Center for Rural Community Health to implement and evaluate a six-month cardiovascular disease risk-reduction program for overweight or obese women who are sedentary. The first phase of this community-randomized trial demonstrated effectiveness in reducing multiple disease risk factors, including weight loss and improved physical activity.

As the CCHEq grows, students in New York City and Ithaca will conduct research and work with fellow scientists and staff members across the two campuses. This aligns with one of Cornell’s strategic priorities, which emphasizes a connection between the medical school and other parts of the university through a distinct focus, in this case improving health equity.

The translational nature of the work, which brings together researchers across Cornell campuses and involves community members, is in line with the BCTR’s mission to speed and strengthen connections between research and practice.

“We want to drill down on this issue, so we are partnering with communities to understand their priorities and perspectives, collaboratively developing interventions based on science as well as community realities, and partnering with community organizations to sustain those interventions,” Safford said. “Cornell has such a broad reach. While we’re at the very beginning stages of our center, tapping into that Cornell community and potentially making an impact regionally is really exciting.”

Cornell Center for Health Equity established - Cornell Chronicle

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PRYDE conference on social media literacy in youth


news-2017-prydeconf-inpost

front (l to r): David Dunning, Elaine Wethington, Kristen Elmore, Jutta Dotterweich, Jamila Simon, Esther Kim, Rachel Sumner. back: Chinwe Effiong, Paul Mihailidis, Kayla Burd, Josh Pasek, Jonathon Schuldt, Monica Bulger, Neil Lewis, Norbert Schwarz.

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

What does the research tell us about how young people use social media? And what can educators do to teach youth how to use social media in productive, positive ways?

These were the questions researchers addressed at the second annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). The conference, titled “Media Literacy and Citizenship Development in Youth and Emerging Young Adults,” was held from November 9 to 11 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It included multidisciplinary researchers and media developers from across the nation focused on youth, communications, misinformation, and media use.

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and sociology and an associate director of the BCTR, organized the conference. She is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on stress, protective mechanisms of social support, aging, and translational research methods.

Sam Taylor presenting

Sam Taylor presenting

“There are few topics more urgent to address than the relationship of increased reliance on social media as a means of communication and the impact of the new media on social and political institutions,” Wethington said.  “Our long-term goal is to develop new ideas about how to translate research on promoting productive social media use among youth into effective programs that engage youth and emerging adults and their development as informed citizens.”

In addition to invited talks from leading media, communication, and social and developmental psychological researchers, the conference included discussions and group activities about how to teach youth to become positive stewards of social media and the information exchanged on the web. Moving forward, those ideas will help to inform projects in the Cornell Social Media Lab, a PRYDE collaborator.

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Workshop: How to Navigate the Revised Common Rule, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

 
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How to Navigate the Revised Common Rule
Elaine Wethington, associate director, BCTR

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
9:00-10:30 AM
102 Mann Library



This workshop will summarize proposed changes to US federal regulations for the protection of human participants (scheduled to go into effect in July 2018) and how these regulatory changes may affect the work of researchers who do community-based research and other types of health/clinical research in practice settings. The presentation will also document how federal and foundation funders have already implemented new expectations for research practices based on the pending changes (including changes to standards for informed consent). Workshop attendees will discuss case studies and learn the principles used by IRBs to review studies of this type.

To Register:

Please contact Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu.
Breakfast will be served.
This workshop is open to all Cornell faculty, staff, and grad students.


event-htdrrws-event-image2Part of an interactive workshop series

Researchers are increasingly conducting studies in community settings and applying for grants that require documentation of real-world impact. Indeed, some funders now require components such as dissemination plans, stakeholder engagement, or community participation. To meet these new demands, researchers may wish to collaborate with non-academic groups and craft research questions and results that inform practice or policy. This series of interactive workshops shares the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s extensive experience conducting research in real-world settings and translating empirical findings into practice. Each workshop addresses a key challenge that researchers face in doing translational research and provides practical tools for overcoming obstacles to conducting effective translational research.

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Joining forces to ease chronic pain


triplllogo-smallerBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Pain relievers are some of the most commonly-used medicines among older adults. But a Cornell-based organization called the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life, or TRIPLL, is exploring alternative ways to alleviate pain in older adults.

TRIPLL is one of the most active and long-standing collaborations among the Cornell campuses — comprising researchers and graduate students at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Researcher (BCTR), Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech, plus dozens of community organizations serving seniors in New York City.

“It’s a very broad and deep collaboration,” said Karl Pillemer, TRIPLL co-director and director of the BCTR. “Because of our use of video conferencing, Skype and frequent meetings, it’s honestly not much different than if we were all in the same building. A number of us work with our TRIPLL colleagues even more than with people on our own campuses.”

TRIPLL was founded in 2009 with a grant from the National Institute on Aging. It is one of 12 federally-funded Edward R. Roybal Centers for Translational Research on Aging across the nation; each one focuses on a different aspect related to the health and well-being of older Americans.

TRIPLL brings together faculty from a variety of disciplines, including clinical medicine, epidemiology, gerontology, the social and behavioral sciences, computer science to focus non-pharmacologic methods of pain relief.

“Pain is a huge problem — it’s one of the things that keeps people homebound,” says Riverdale Senior Services director Julia Schwartz-Leeper, who regularly uses the institute’s webinars to train her staff. “The work that TRIPLL does is critically important.”

Karl Pillemer and Elaine Wethington

Karl Pillemer and Elaine Wethington

As the American population ages, the issue of treating pain in older adults is only getting more pressing. TRIPLL co-director Dr. Elaine Wethington, a medical sociologist and an associate director at the BCTR, notes that one-third of older adults has chronic pain — “and the majority of those find inadequate relief.”

Effective, evidence-based alternatives to pharmaceuticals are needed because many older adults have pre-existing conditions, such as heart failure or kidney problems, that pain medicines can exacerbate. The epidemic of opioid abuse also complicates matters. Fear of addiction may discourage older people from taking pain drugs. And reducing the number of opioid prescriptions keeps the drugs out of a medicine cabinet where they could be misused by family members or others, Pillemer said.

“Our inability to deal with chronic pain through non-drug methods is a huge problem,” he said. “In terms of an issue that makes the largest number of people miserable, chronic pain is at the top. But it’s not a high-profile problem that has an easy cure, so it doesn’t attract as much research funding.”

In an effort to combat the problem, TRIPLL’s researchers award grants for pilot studies; hold monthly seminars linking researchers on the various campuses; mentor graduate students, post-docs, fellows and junior faculty; and serve as a resource to New York City community service agencies, whose tens of thousands of clients provide a deep bench of volunteers for research studies.

“For years there’s been a consensus among researchers that pain is not just a biological phenomenon, it’s also a social and a psychological one, but there are few centers in the United States that look at pain from this biopsychosocial perspective,” Wethington said. “Our commitment is to understand these aspects as completely as we can — to get really smart people working on them, to publish papers in places where they’ll have an effect on practice.”

This story is adapted from an article that was first published in Weill Cornell Medicine, Vol. 16, No. 1.

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Workshop: How to Address IRB Issues in Translational Research, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

 
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How to Address IRB Issues in Translational Research
Elaine Wethington, BCTR

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
8:30-10:00 AM
G87 MVR Hall



In this workshop you will learn how to present a community-based translational research study to an institutional review board (IRB) for human participants. We’ll cover the federal regulations and guidance documents that are relevant to IRB review of community-based studies. Workshop attendees will discuss case studies and learn the principles used by IRBs to review studies of this type. Greater knowledge of the IRB process may help participants prevent review delays. Workshop participants will also learn how the pending revision of the Common Rule may impact the review of community-based translational studies.

Elaine Wethington, Associate Director, BCTR; Professor of Human Development and Sociology

To Register:

Please contact Patty Thayer at pmt6@cornell.edu
Lunch will be served.
This workshop is open to all Cornell faculty, staff, and grad students.

event-htdrrws-event-image2Part of an interactive workshop series

Researchers are increasingly conducting studies in community settings and applying for grants that require documentation of real-world impact. Indeed, some funders now require components such as dissemination plans, stakeholder engagement, or community participation. To meet these new demands, researchers may wish to collaborate with non-academic groups and craft research questions and results that inform practice or policy. This series of interactive workshops shares the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s extensive experience conducting research in real-world settings and translating empirical findings into practice. Each workshop addresses a key challenge that researchers face in doing translational research and provides practical tools for overcoming obstacles to conducting effective translational research.

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Gerontological Society selects experts on aging as fellows


By Tyler Alicea ‘16, MPS ‘17 for the College of Human Ecology tumblr

wethington loeckenhoff

Wethington and Loeckenhoff

For their work on aging, two College of Human Ecology faculty members have been named fellows for the Gerontological Society of America.

Corinna Loeckenhoff, associate professor of human development and associate professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), and Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and of sociology and professor of gerontology in geriatrics at WCMC, were two of 94 professionals named on May 31 to the society, which is the largest of its kind seeking to understand aging in the United States.

As fellows, Loeckenhoff and Wethington are being recognized for their “outstanding and continuing work in gerontology,” specifically in the behavioral and social sciences section of the society.

Loeckenhoff, who directs the Laboratory for Healthy Aging and oversees Cornell’s gerontology minor, researches various topics related to health, personality, and emotions across the lifespan. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on the various aspects of adult development and healthy aging.

Wethington, director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Human Development and associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, focuses on stress and how outside factors can affect one’s physical and mental health.

The society will formally recognize Loeckenhoff, Wethington, and its other new fellows at its 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans this November.

Gerontological Society selects experts on aging as fellows - College of Human Ecology tumblr

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$1.2M gift funds new BCTR youth development project


From the Cornell Chronicle:
By Sarah Thompson

With the newly-formed Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), Cornell researchers are joining with the New York State 4-H program and the 200,000 children and teens who participate annually to foster groundbreaking research on youth development.

girl doing experiment

"Smart Clothing, Smart Girls" middle school participants work on design projects.
Photo credit: Dani Corona/College of Human Ecology

PRYDE will lead projects in real-world settings and seek to improve community-based youth education programs from the ground up.

Funded by a three-year, $1.2 million startup gift from Rebecca Q. Morgan ’60, PRYDE staff and faculty affiliates plan to create a hub for serving young people’s developmental needs in four theme areas: life purpose, healthy transitions into adolescence, intergenerational connections and productive social media use. PRYDE experts will conduct translational research in close collaboration with 4-H staff and youth across New York, accelerating the speed at which evidence can be applied to new and existing programs while also sparking young people’s interest in social science.

Based in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) in the College of Human Ecology, PRYDE is believed to be the first university program in the nation to apply innovative social science methods to strengthen 4-H programs.

“Rigorous research is needed to help identify and recognize the specific ingredients of youth programs that have the best impacts on youth,” said Anthony Burrow, PRYDE director and assistant professor of human development. “Essentially, ensuring that research and evidence-based programming are part of these programs enables others to know that the good work they are doing is producing the outcomes they are striving for.”

PRYDE will rely on a community-based participatory research model developed and used by BCTR researchers for more than two decades. Tapping a Community Engagement Work Group comprising 4-H educators and field staff, campus-county teams will identify research needs, design studies and interpret and disseminate data through a statewide “research ready” network. They hope to fill knowledge gaps on how to best nurture healthy youth development through 4-H and other out-of-school programs. Training to build research literacy, as well as an annual Youth Development Conference for off-campus 4-H staff to hear the latest evidence from Cornell researchers, will deepen campus and county connections.

kids shooting rocket

4-H members participate in the "Have a Blast with Rocketry" program during 4-H Career Explorations at Cornell.

“The opportunity to apply practices with a strong evidence base, and work with faculty who can evaluate current efforts and identify what’s working and why, has potential to make a huge difference. This work team will create a space for real engagement and shared program development,” said Andrew Turner, PRYDE advisory committee member and state leader of the New York State 4-H Youth Development Program, part of the BCTR and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

PRYDE leaders selected the program’s research priorities based on input from 4-H educators, as well as the potential to address urgent needs of young people. Burrow, who studies human purpose and identity, will examine how these developmental assets can be woven into youth learning and engagement programs. Jane Mendle, assistant professor of human development who has previously used the 4-H network to test expressive writing interventions for teen girls, will lead research on how to support the well-being of children as they enter puberty.

Social media, often seen as a danger to youth, will be studied for its potential to connect them to each other and their communities in a project led by Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and of sociology. Karl Pillemer, BCTR director and Hazel E. Reed Professor of Human Development, will test new models to bring together people of all ages in meaningful activities.

In its work, PRYDE seeks to expose adolescents to cutting-edge human development research and train future generations of youth development specialists. Cornell undergraduates are being recruited for the first group of PRYDE Scholars, who will be mentored by faculty in youth development research. PRYDE plans to hire graduate research assistants and will also host campus visits and create other outlets for 4-H members to observe social science research firsthand.

For these reasons, the program “greatly piqued my interest,” said Morgan, a donor with a longstanding interest in youth development. A former California state senator, Morgan participated in 4-H while growing up on a Vermont dairy farm and briefly served as a 4-H agent in Tompkins County after her Cornell graduation. At cattle shows and fashion displays and as president of her local club, Morgan credits 4-H with teaching her everything from accounting to leadership to dressmaking.

“I am most excited that PRYDE is taking science and putting it into service to help young people,” Morgan said. “4-H is the largest youth organization in the U.S. and it offers a readymade network for translating Cornell research into effective youth programs. The program is positioned to become a national leader on this topic.”

PRYDE will officially launch with a campus panel discussion May 5, featuring prominent researchers and practitioners discussing the future of translational youth development research. The event will be live streamed for the public.

“The generosity of Becky Morgan will allow us to speed up the process of uniting science and service in youth development, bringing world-class researchers together with expert practitioners to create a better world for young people,” Pillemer said. “It is rare when a gift can have such far-reaching consequences.”

$1.2M gift launches research program to better serve youth - Cornell Chronicle

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Talks at Twelve: Elaine Wethington and Carol Devine, Monday, February 22, 2016

 

Large and Small Life Events among Overweight and Obese Black and Latino Adults in a Behavior Change Trial
Elaine Wethington, Human Development, Sociology, and BCTR, and Carol Devine, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Monday, February 22, 2016
12:00-1:00PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



It is widely believed that stressor exposure can negatively affect health. However, the impact of stressors on health behaviors is not well understood. Professors Wethington and Devine developed an interval life events (ILE) measurement method, which assesses exposure to both major stressors (life events) and minor stressors (hassles), for use in clinical trials or observational studies. They evaluated this method in the Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE) trial. SCALE is a community-based intervention promoting small changes in diet and physical activity among overweight and obese African-American and Hispanic adults to discover how stressors interfere with behavior change or trial participation. In their talk Wethington and Devine will report on their findings.

Professor Elaine Wethington (human development; sociology; Weill Cornell Medicine) studies stress and social support processes across the life course. She is co-principal investigator on SCALE, a weight loss intervention with low income Black and Latino adults in New York City, and co-director and MPI for the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL).

Professor Carol Devine, Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell, studies how food choices over the life course are shaped by life transitions, social roles, and the lived environment. She is co-investigator on SCALE.

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations 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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Networking event on pain in later life sparks new connections


TRIPLL co-director Elaine Wethington speaking with Information Sciences grad student Alex Adams (l) and Communications associate professor Jeff Niederdeppe (r)

TRIPLL co-director Elaine Wethington speaking with Information Sciences grad student Alex Adams (l) and Communications associate professor Jeff Niederdeppe (r)

On October 21st the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) hosted a networking event for over 30 invited researchers at the Statler Hotel on Cornell campus.  TRIPLL, an NIH-funded Edward R. Roybal Center, fosters multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, faculty at Cornell’s Ithaca Campus, Cornell Tech, and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR), with the goal of understanding and treating pain in older adults.

An introduction by TRIPLL director Cary Reid (Weill Cornell Medical College) noted key challenges in the field. “Up to half of all older adults live with chronic pain,” Reid said, “but diagnostic and treatment approaches have yet to catch up to this reality.” To address this concern, Reid highlighted a range of resources offered by TRIPLL to engage new researchers in the field, including pilot funding, webinars, feedback on project proposals, matchmaking with potential collaborators, and access to participant populations.

“Promising new approaches to treat pain may come from wide variety of fields,” said TRIPLL co-director and interim BCTR director Elaine Wethington. She continued, “for this event we reached out to researchers in social, behavioral, economic, environmental, biological, communication, and information sciences. Basic scientists can sometimes feel daunted when trying to extend their work to clinical settings and patient populations. TRIPLL provides the guidance and resources to help secure study participants.”

Current and past TRIPLL pilot investigators spoke about the support TRIPLL gave them, helping them secure local and federal support for their research.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Cary Reid    Cornell Tech    Elaine Wethington    TRIPLL    Weill Cornell   

New research initiative to promote positive youth development


Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle

Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle

The BCTR is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative called the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). Continuing the legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, the program will link science and service in innovative ways by involving 4-H communities in basic and applied research designed to understand and improve youth experiences.

PRYDE is led by BCTR faculty affiliates Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle, both faculty members in the Department of Human Development. The program is supported by a BCTR-funded post-doctoral fellow, Jennifer Agans, as well as an advisory committee of 4-H and BCTR faculty and staff including Andy Turner, Karl Pillemer, Elaine Wethington, and Marie Cope. PRYDE’s initial projects include the development of an interactive mapping tool for Cornell faculty and staff to identify 4-H Youth Development programs with populations that meet their research needs, as well as and a new study to examine the role of purpose in youth engagement in 4-H programs.

These activities will lay the groundwork for PRYDE’s primary goal of creating a nationally prominent program for translational research on youth development to benefit the thousands of urban and rural 4-H participants in New York State and beyond. Stay tuned for resources and opportunities to get involved!

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    Andy Turner    Anthony Burrow    Elaine Wethington    Jane Mendle    Karl Pillemer    Marie Cope    PRYDE    youth    youth development   
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