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Wethington named AAAS fellow


portrait of Elaine Wethington

Elaine Wethington

by Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development, sociology and gerontology in medicine, and associate director of the BCTR, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society.

Wethington is recognized for her contributions to medical sociology, focusing on the social aspects of physical and mental illnesses, their epidemiology and rigorous measurement, and for making her findings translatable to diverse audiences, including patients and the public.

Her research focuses on social relationships and isolation among older adults and the role of stressful life events in affecting mental and physical health across the life course. She also conducted ground-breaking research on developing measures of stressor exposure throughout her career.

“I am thrilled to have earned this prestigious recognition for my work in translational research to improve health and well-being,” Wethington said. “This is not something I could have done on my own, and I am grateful for the support of Cornell’s Roybal Center for Translational Research on Aging and its directors since 1993.”

Wethington is one of nine Cornell faculty members and 416 researchers across the world who were elected this year to honor their efforts to advance research and its applications to benefit humankind. Wethington and the other new fellows will be inducted into the association at its annual meeting on February 16 in Washington D.C.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: award    Elaine Wethington    health    mental health   

Talks at Twelve: Sara Czaja, Wednesday, February 27, 2019

 
portrait of Sara Czaja

Social Isolation Among Older Adults: What Role Can Technology Play?
Sara Czaja, Weill Cornell Medicine

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
12:00-1:00 p.m.
225 ILR Conference Center



Social isolation and loneliness are prevalent among older adults, represent significant health risks, and have been linked to cognitive declines, lower quality of life, a heightened risk for physical and mental health problems, functional declines, and mortality. Technology applications such as email, social media sites and online support groups hold promise in terms of enhancing engagement and providing support to older people in various domains and contexts. This presentation will present findings from CREATE and other trials regarding the access to and use of these applications among older adults and the resultant impact on social connectivity, loneliness and social support.

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D. is the director of the Center on Aging and Behavioral Research in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is also an emeritus professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM). Prior to joining the faculty at Weill Cornell, she was the director of the Center on Aging at the UMMSM. Sara received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, specializing in Human Factors Engineering at the University of Buffalo in 1980. She is the director of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE). Her research interests include: aging and cognition, aging and healthcare access and service delivery, family caregiving, aging and technology, training, and functional assessment. She has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health, Administration on Aging, and the National Science Foundation to support her research.

She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Gerontological Society of American. She is also past president of Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) of APA. She is a member of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences Board on Human Systems Integration. She served as a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging and as a member of the IOM Committee on Family Caregiving for Older Adults. Dr. Czaja is also the recipient of the 2015 M. Powell Lawton Distinguished Contribution Award for Applied Gerontology, of GSA; the 2013 Social Impact Award for the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM); the Jack A. Kraft Award for Innovation from HFES and the APA Interdisciplinary Team, both with CREATE; and the Franklin V. Taylor Award from Division 21 of APA.


Co-sponsored by the Graduate Field of Human Development

Lunch will be provided.
This event is free and open to all. No registration is required, but groups of 10 or more, please inform Lori Biechele of your plans to attend so enough lunch can be ordered.

Parking is available on Garden Ave., in the Hoy Garage, or at various Parkmobile lots. Please stop at any information booth for assistance.

For further parking info, see:
Short-term parking options
Parkmobile map

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    BCTR Talks at Twelve    gerontology    health    mental health    social media    technology   

Charting Mental Disorders from Childhood to Midlife, Thursday, April 25, 2019

 
portrait of Avshalom Caspi

Charting Mental Disorders from Childhood to Midlife: Lessons for Nosology, Etiology, Intervention, and Public Understanding of Mental Disorde
Avshalom Caspi, Duke University and King's College London

Thursday, April 25, 2019
4:30 p.m.
G10 Biotech Building



Mental-health professionals typically encounter a patient at one point in his or her life. This cross-sectional view fosters a focus on the current presenting disorder(s), on the assumption that diagnosis informs about etiology and prognosis.  But what happens outside the clinic, and what happens across development? Caspi presents new data from the longest longitudinal study of mental health to show how mental disorders ebb and flow over the life course, from childhood to midlife. Surprises emerge about when mental disorders develop, how common they are, and how they diversify with time.  He will present evidence about potent risk factors and health-damaging sequelae and discuss why life-course health policy needs to promote the mental health of children not only for intrinsic reasons, but because doing may improve the health of the population. 

portrait of John EckenrodeThis event also honors and celebrates John Eckenrode’s over 35-year Cornell career. A professor in the Department of Human Development, John has also served as founding director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, director of the Family Life Development Center and founding director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Reception to immediately follow the talk.


Avshalom Caspi, Ph.D., is the Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University, and Professor of Personality Development at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience, King’s College London. His expertise is in longitudinal methods, developmental psychology, personality assessment, life-course epidemiology, and genomics in behavioral science.

Dr. Caspi grew up in Israel. He attended the University of California, Santa Cruz for his undergraduate degree and completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University. He worked in (West) Berlin, and served on the faculty at Harvard and the University of Wisconsin before moving to London and then Duke.

His research spans the fields of psychology, epidemiology, and genetics. His work is concerned with three broad questions: (1) How do childhood experiences shape aging and the course of health inequalities across the life span?  (2) How do genetic differences between people shape the way they respond to their environments? (3) What are the best ways to assess and measure personality differences between people?

For his research, Dr. Caspi has received both the American Psychological Association's Early Career Contribution Award and Distinguished Career Award. Dr. Caspi was also awarded a Royal Society-Wolfson Merit Award, and was a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, the Mortimer D. Sackler MD Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology, the NARSAD Ruane Prize for Outstanding Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research, and the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for Productive Youth Development.

He holds an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He is involved in international teaching and training initiatives in developmental psychopathology.

(1) Comment.  |   Tags: children    health    John Eckenrode    mental health   

Engaged Cornell grants support BCTR youth research


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers have just received grants from Engaged Cornell that will help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.

portrait of Jane Powers in a black turtleneck

Jane Powers

ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.

And Max Kelly, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth’s access to health care.

The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.

The project led by Powers in collaboration with Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) Professor Gary Evans will bring together undergraduate design students and local youth who experience unstable housing to design an emergency shelter for homeless youth. They will partner with Tompkins Community Action, a local non-profit that serves low income families, and the Learning Web, a community-based youth mentoring organization.

“I’m excited to be involved in this community-university collaboration that aims to better serve vulnerable youth in Tompkins County,” Powers said. “We will engage Cornell students to conduct focus groups with youth who experience homelessness and then use that data to design a new youth shelter that will appeal to and meet their needs.”

DEA students working on the project will use focus group data to develop design guidelines and working drawings of interior details. Powers said she hopes it turns into a long-term relationship between the local organization and Cornell students.

portrait of Max Kelly in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck

Max Kelly

Kelly wants to take a careful look at access to health care for youth because there is a significant increase in the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases among adolescents in New York State. And there is little evidence about how gender and sexual identity affect the health and access to medical care for youth.

“I hope this information will strengthen the work that ACT for Youth is doing to promote adolescent sexual health and guide future projects for the Department of Health,” Kelly said.

He will begin working on the project during the January intersession and should have findings available in early spring.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Engaged Cornell    gender    health    healthcare    homelessness    Jane Powers    sexual health    youth   

Talks at Twelve: Kimberly Kopko, Sharon Tennyson, John Sipple, Wednesday, October 17, 2018

 
portrait of Kimberly Kopko

Enhancing the Impact of School-Based Health Centers in Rural NY via Parenting Education
Kimberly Kopko, Sharon Tennyson, John Sipple - Cornell University

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
ILR Conference Center, Room 225



This integrated pilot project explores the feasibility and impact of expanding existing services provided by School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in rural New York to enhance the sustainability of healthy families and communities. Based on site visits, meetings, interviews, parent surveys, literature reviews and a four-county quantitative study of healthcare access and outcomes across generations, our multidisciplinary team of applied research, extension and healthcare professionals developed a two-generation community-centered response model based on expanding parent education and support services through SBHCs. Extending the scope of parent support services at SBHCs in rural communities may be a sustainable and cost-effective way to enhance the positive role they play in these areas.


Kimberly Kopko received her Ph.D. in child development from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University and joined the Department of Policy Analysis & Management in the College of Human Ecology after spending a year as an assistant professor of psychology at Ithaca College.  Her research and extension work examines parenting and family processes. Current research and outreach projects include: parenting and child learning, parenting education in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), teens being raised by custodial grandparents, and the use of research and evidence-based parent education programs to promote positive parenting behaviors and strengthen families.  Ongoing academic and research interests incorporate an international dimension with a focus on parenting and family support and comparative parenting, family, and child social policies in Scandinavian countries.

Sharon Tennyson is a professor at Cornell University in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, a core faculty member of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), and director of graduate studies for the field of public affairs. She is a member of the advisory board of Cornell's Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and faculty coordinator of the Einaudi Center's Working Group on Disasters.

An economist by training, Dr. Tennyson's primary research focus is the impact of laws and government regulations on the wellbeing of consumers in markets. Recognizing that government actions may alter firms' operations and/or consumers' decisions in markets, her work explores the effects of regulations on these behaviors and the changes in market outcomes that result.  Much of her work has studied insurance markets, but she has also written on the regulation of credit cards, prescription drugs and airlines.

From 2014-2017 Dr. Tennyson served as director of CIPA, and from 2012-2017 she served as editor of the Journal of Consumer Affairs. She is a former president of the Risk Theory Society, and began her career as an assistant professor in the Department of Insurance and Risk Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

John W. Sipple, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. He serves as director of the New York State Center for Rural Schools, faculty director of Cornell’s Community and Regional Development Institute, co-editor of the academic journal Community Development, and served three years as a state-appointed monitor for the East Ramapo (NY) School District. Prof. Sipple studies the linkages between the $600 Billion/year K-12 educational system and the vitality of local communities. This includes problems and policies related to equity in state assessment, earlycare and PreK, demographic change, and the intersection of school-based health clinics and broader community well-being. He leads an effort to put data in the hands of local decision makers via useful and easy-to-use data tools (NYEducationData.org). He has published broadly in academic journals and books and presented at regional, national, and international conferences. He is a former 7th and 8th grade science and mathematics teacher, earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College, an ME.d from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.


Lunch will be provided.
This event is free and open to all. No registration is required, but groups of 10 or more, please inform Lori Biechele of your plans to attend so enough lunch can be ordered.

Parking is available on Garden Ave., in the Hoy Garage or at various Parkmobile lots.  Please stop at any information booth for assistance.

For further parking info, see:
Short-term parking options
Parkmobile map

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCTR Talks at Twelve    education    health    Kimberly Kopko    New York    parenting   

Time in nature to improve kids’ health


Adapted from an article by David Nutt for the Cornell Chronicle

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s Academic Venture Fund (AVF) supports collaborations that cut across disciplines to address today’s greatest sustainability challenges. In 2018, the fund awarded $1.5 million to a range of projects that will provide sustainable solutions around the world, from the Finger Lakes to the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia.

Among the 12 projects are efforts aimed at transforming nutrient-rich poultry waste into economically viable fertilizers; developing in-situ conservation strategies for African rice; boosting nature-based engagement for elementary schools in low-income communities; and connecting rural and urban areas across New York state through a public “Internet of Things” infrastructure.

portrait of Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock

Included in the 2018 funded projects is Opening the Door to Nature-Based Engagement, on which the BCTR's Janis Whitlock is a co-investigator.

Young people today show greater rates of stress and anxiety, a trend that coincides with a growing recognition of the threats to the natural environment. Employing a One Health approach, researchers will examine how curricular programing that provides students more time in nature can lead to healthier populations and environments. The project will specifically focus on elementary schools serving low-income communities in urban and rural areas, and will identify curricular best practices and generate data to inform programs and state policy for long-term social and environmental impact. The project also received a Engaged Cornell supplemental grant. Co-sponsored by MPH.

Investigators: Gen Meredith, population medicine and diagnostic sciences; Don Rakow, horticulture; Nancy Wells, design and environmental analysis; Janis Whitlock, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research; Monika Safford, Weill Cornell Medicine; Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department.

Atkinson's Academic Venture Fund awards $1.5M to 12 projects - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    environment    grant    health    Janis Whitlock    media mention    mental health    youth   

Getting youth to drink water, not sugar


young man drinking a bottle of water with the text "drink water." Text at the bottom "Make the healthy choice. Give your body the water it needs" NY State Department of HealthResearchers from the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research helped inform new public service advertisements created by the New York Department of Health to educate youth about the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Researchers working on the ACT for Youth project conducted two rounds of focus groups in the summer/fall of 2017 and spring of 2018 to test possible messages that would encourage young minority males to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.

“The story demonstrates our ability to conduct research with youth across the state in order to help NYSDOH better serve and reach youth, ultimately helping—we hope-- to improve health,” said Karen Schantz, the communications coordinator for ACT For Youth.

A significant number of youth drink sugary beverages regularly. In one study conducted from 2011-2014, more than 60 percent of adolescent boys drank a sugar-sweetened beverage each day. This is alarming considering there is clear evidence that these beverages are associated with obesity, poor dental health and other health problems.

Amanda Purington, the director of evaluation and research for ACT for Youth, managed the focus groups. In them, groups of adolescent boys from western and central New York answered questions about the definition of “sugary” beverages and how much they consumed, and then evaluated sample ads created to encourage youth to avoid sweetened beverages.

“Many of the young people we talked with thought that sports drinks were healthy drinks and if they engaged in an athletic endeavor, they needed to drink them to replace electrolytes,” Purington said. “So, unfortunately, the marketing by the sports drink companies is working! On the whole, the youth were surprised by the amount of sugar in sports drinks because they really thought they were healthy drinks.”

Youth preferred ads with information, such as the amount of sugar in different kinds of sugary drinks. The most well-received ads struck a balance between providing information and delivering that information in a clear, concise – and often visual – way.

“They also liked having alternatives suggested, like ‘quench your thirst with water instead,’” she said. “But they didn’t just want to be told what to do, they wanted to come to their own conclusions.

“They also wisely acknowledged that a media campaign like this might lead to some short-term behavior change, but may not lead to long-term behavior change, especially in communities where sugary beverages are ingrained in the culture.”

The New York State Department of Health’s media campaign is now live.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Amanda Purington    children    focus group    government    health    Karen Schantz    New York    nutrition    research    youth   

Doing Translational Research podcast: Monika Safford, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

portrait of Monika Safford View Media

Doing Translational Research podcast: Monika Safford

There is No Health System
December 12, 2017

Monika Safford
Weill Cornell Medical College


There is No Health System
December 12, 2017

Monika Safford
Weill Cornell Medical College

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: doing translational research    health    healthcare    inequality    podcast    poverty    race   

Talks at Twelve: Monika Safford, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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Talks at Twelve: Monika Safford

Health Equity in the 21st Century: Challenges and Solutions
November 30, 2017

Monika Safford
Weill Cornell Medical College


Health Equity in the 21st Century: Challenges and Solutions
November 30, 2017

Monika Safford
Weill Cornell Medical College

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCTR Talks at Twelve    health    healthcare    inequality    race    Weill Cornell   

2017 Bronfenbrenner Lecture, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

karen matthews at a microphone View Media

2017 Bronfenbrenner Lecture

Biological Pathways in Childhood Poverty, Health, Well-being, and Behavior
June 15, 2017

Karen Matthews
University of Pittsburgh


Biological Pathways in Childhood Poverty, Health, Well-being, and Behavior
June 15, 2017

Karen Matthews
University of Pittsburgh

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Bronfenbrenner Lecture    children    health    poverty