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Eckenrode receives Outstanding Article Award

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

row of people holding award certificates

Eckenrode (second from right) and other award recipients with their certificates

A nationwide effort to improve the lives of disadvantaged moms and their children through visits from nurses prevents child maltreatment by helping mothers plan future pregnancies and become financially self-sufficient. That’s the conclusion of a recent paper authored by human development professor John Eckenrode, associate director of the BCTR.

Eckenrode and his co-authors – Mary I. Campa, Pamela A. Morris, Charles R. Henderson, Jr.,  Kerry E. Bolger, Harriet Kitzman, and David L. Olds,  – received the Outstanding Article Award for a publication in the Child Maltreatment Journal. They accepted the award at the annual conference of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children last month in New Orleans.

The program is called the Nurse-Family Partnership. It works by having specially-trained nurses regularly visit young, first-time moms-to-be starting in pregnancy and continuing through the child’s second birthday. The nurses provide health checks and counseling about staying healthy during pregnancy and, after birth, also focus on the baby’s health and well-being. Previous studies have found that the program significantly reduces child abuse and neglect. More than 280,000 families have participated in the program over the course of decades.

This awarded study followed 400 mothers and children 15 years after they first participated in the program. Researchers were trying to determine exactly how visits from nurses led to reductions in child abuse and neglect. Their analysis found that the program helped mothers by encouraging them to wait before having more children and helping them to become financially independent.

“It was an honor to receive this award on behalf of the NFR research team,” Eckenrode said. “Our findings suggest that in order to prevent child maltreatment over the long-term, it is important to focus on family planning and assisting young families to become financially self-sufficient.  This is in addition to promoting healthy behaviors, encouraging positive parenting practices, and attending to parents’ mental health needs.”

The article concluded that home-visiting programs can improve the lives of mothers and children by focusing on teaching mothers about planning future pregnancies and encouraging mothers to become economically self-sufficient.

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2013 student showcase sparks cross-project discussions

Vicky Atzl presenting

The BCTR offers students across campus the opportunity to learn about and participate in research techniques and data collection and analysis as research assistants in many of the center's projects. The annual student showcase gives some current BCTR students an  opportunity to present on their work with the center.

The 2013 showcase was held on May 6th. Over 30 people attended, including graduate students, undergraduate students, and BCTR and College of Human Ecology staff. Presentations prompted discussions between center projects about their similar research interests. For example, the issue of parent (or other care-giving adult)/child communication was a recurring subject across presentations and subsequent discussions. Both the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior and the Nurse Family Partnership are considering the best ways for caregivers and children to connect. Multiple center projects are also looking at the "secondary suffering" of parents or caregivers, which applies to those caring for self-injurious youth or elders.

2013 Presenters

  • Using Research to Guide the Perinatal Home Visiting System in NY State
    Victoria Atzl, HD ‘14
    Nurse Family Partnership
  • Secondary Suffering in Caregivers of Youth With Non-Suicidal Self Injury
    Feven Fisseha , Psych ‘14
    Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior
  • The Limitations of Hospice Care in Rural Areas: An Analysis of the Evidence and Implications
    Meghan McDarby, HD ‘14
    Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life
  • An Exploratory Study of Parent-adolescent Communication, Mindful Parenting, and Non-suicidal Self-injury (NSSI)
    Rebecca Morgan, HD ‘13
    Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior
  • How Certain Aspects of a Child’s Personality Connect to Resiliency and Healthy Development in Later Life
    Sierra Shumate, Psych ‘14
    Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Self-Injury: Participant Feedback Report
    Rachel Siegfried, HD ‘13
    Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior

More information for students interested in becoming involved with BCTR research projects can be found in the For Students section.

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