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Improving the health of military families

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BPC_150909_c_AR2_ExecutiveSummary.inddBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers have spent two years helping to improve the health and wellness of military members and their families.

The BCTR’s Military Projects team partnered with researchers from the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) to measure outcomes from the Healthy Base Initiative, a short-term project to demonstrate how healthy eating, exercise, and tobacco cessation can improve the lives of active service members and their families. The results were published earlier this year.

Their work was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense launched the project at 14 pilot sites across the world. First, they assessed the health and wellness of the military community at each site, then they implemented a variety of initiatives designed to improve health and wellness, such as fitness programs, menu labeling, cooking seminars, and tobacco cessation campaigns.

BCTR and CORE researchers worked with the Department of Defense Military Community & Family Policy and other researchers to evaluate which initiatives worked the best to help military families lead healthier lifestyles and develop conclusions that will inform a larger wellness initiative across the Department of Defense.

“Health care costs continue to be a large and rapidly growing part of the military budget and include the cost associated with active duty service members and their families as well as military members in the reserve components, retirees, and veterans,” explained Brian Leidy, senior extension associate at the BCTR and director of Military Projects. “Just like in the civilian population, metabolic diseases which are largely preventable through proper diet, exercise, and avoiding tobacco play a major role in the acceleration of these costs.”

The project identified a wide range of recommendations such as encouraging different service branches within the military to work together on health and fitness initiatives, finding ways to offer more healthy food options within military communities, offering childcare while adults exercise or participate in wellness activities, and creating more tobacco-free areas.

You can read the full list of recommendations in the Healthy Base Initiative executive summary and full report.

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Linking research to the practice of youth development

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Stephen Hamilton

A special issue of the journal Applied Developmental Science explores the application of a truly translational research process to "youth development." The issue is edited by Stephen Hamilton, BCTR associate director for youth development.

From the abstract for the issue:

The articles in this special issue address some of the challenges of strengthening the links between research and the practice of youth development and identify some approaches that have worked well. Youth development emerged from practice rather than from theory or research. Research that is most useful in the practice of youth development honors that primacy both by exploring questions that are important in practice and by engaging practitioners as partners, not merely as consumers.

...

A consistent theme of this issue is that the conventional portrayal of research-practice linkage as uni-directional is both inaccurate and inadequate. Different kinds of research inform different dimensions of practice; practice can and should guide research. Efforts to aid practitioners in accessing, understanding, and using research findings should be accompanied by efforts to aid researchers in posing questions about topics that matter to practitioners, conducting research that comprehends the complexity in which those topics are embedded, honoring practitioner wisdom, and enlarging the circle of those who conduct research.

The issue includes the following articles (BCTR staff in bold):

Stephen F. Hamilton (2015) Linking Research to the Practice of Youth Development, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 57-59, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2015.1030016

Stephen F. Hamilton (2015) Translational Research and Youth Development, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 60-73, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.968279

Reed W. Larson, Kathrin C. Walker, Natalie Rusk & Lisa B. Diaz (2015) Understanding Youth Development from the Practitioner's Point of View: A Call for Research on Effective Practice, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 74-86, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.972558

Mary Agnes Hamilton & Stephen F. Hamilton (2015) Seeking Social Inventions to Improve the Transition to Adulthood, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 87-107, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.975227

Jane Powers, Mary Maley, Amanda Purington, Karen Schantz & Jutta Dotterweich (2015) Implementing Evidence-Based Programs: Lessons Learned From the Field, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 108-116, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2015.1020155

Nicole Yohalem & Vivian Tseng (2015) Commentary: Moving From Practice to Research, and Back, Applied Developmental Science, 19:2, 117-120, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.983033

 

Linking research to the practice of youth development - Applied Developmental Science

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New book: “Thirty Lessons for Loving” by Karl Pillemer

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news-pillemer-lessonsloving-inpost30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage uses data and stories from the most detailed survey of long-married people ever conducted to show the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. Author and incoming BCTR director Karl Pillemer presents this sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together. The new book, out in January, follows the success of Pillemer’s 30 Lessons for Living, which offered life advice across various areas (work, family, money,etc.). Pillemer is also Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development and Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

In an article in Cornell Alumni Magazine, Pillemer explains why advice from this group is so important and can be so helpful to younger generations,

They're looking back from the finish line; it's no longer a mystery how things are going to turn out. These are people who've been through just about everything that keeps young people awake at night, and they're still doing okay. They're living examples that a lot of what we worry about is actually resolvable—that with resilience, drive, and flexibility, you can still be happy, even though bad things sometimes happen to you.

The book is already garnering media attention, including an interview on CBS This Morning (video below). Pillemer will give a book talk on 30 Lessons for Loving on Wednesday, February 25th at 4:00pm in Room 160 Mann Library, Cornell campus.

The book trailer:

 

Pillemer on CBS This Morning

 

Secrets to a successful marriage from 700 retirees - CBS This Morning
Heart to heart - Cornell Alumni Magazine
It's never to late for love, according to gerontology research - Cornell Chronicle
Inside Cornell: Karl Pillemer's "30 Lessons for Loving" - CornellCast
The love advice that shocked expert Karl Pillemer - Huffington Post
Romantic advice from highly experienced practitioners - Sarasota Herald Tribune
Hundreds of retirees share secrets to a happy marriage - USA Today
Forget 'gray divorce': Here's how to make love last - The Wall Street Journal

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CRPSIR featured in International Innovation

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crpsirlogoThe work of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery (CRPSIR) and its director, Dr. Janis Whitlock, are featured in a recent volume of International Innovation, a publication dedicated to disseminating research findings, conducting interviews with leading scientists, and providing information on innovative funding streams. The piece consists of an interview with Whitlock followed by an overview of the definition and causes of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and ways to treat and support those who self-injure.

When asked about the program's emphasis on recovery and the direction that recovery takes, Whitlock noted,

Recovery from any entrenched habitual pattern is a long-term process involving many complex factors, though NSSI poses some unique challenges. One of these is that it most often occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, when the injurious person may be living with his or her family. The presence of self-injury in families can be hard for parents who may feel confused and guilty and for siblings who may be impacted by seeing blood around the house, by knowing that their sibling is in distress, or by having their parents’ attention consumed by their sibling. This is one of the reasons we are focused on family and NSSI right now.

 

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Silent epidemic - International Innovation

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BCTR Annual Report highlights our second year

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bctr 2012-13 annual report coverThe 2012-13 BCTR annual report is now available to view online here. BCTR director John Eckenrode gave an overview of center accomplishments in his introductory message:

This was the 2nd year for the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR). The center represents an innovative College of Human Ecology (CHE) approach to outreach and extension grounded in a translational research framework. Our work fits directly into the university’s strategic initiative of “strongly connecting research and public engagement with Cornell’s areas of strength in research, scholarship, and education.” Over the next five years we expect the center to become:

  • An incubator for translational research projects in the social and behavioral sciences at Cornell
  • An innovator in the creation of new translational research methods
  • A focal point for CHE extension and outreach activities
  • An engine for major funding of multidisciplinary collaborative efforts
  • A model for involving undergraduate and graduate students in translational research activities
  • A link to other colleges within Cornell and to the Weill Cornell Medical College for joint activities

These goals are being achieved in many ways through the multiple-funded projects housed within the center as well as by center-wide events and projects. Funded projects include (1) research on children, youth, young adults, and the elderly; (2) research on the nature and impact of service provision to vulnerable populations; (3) the development, evaluation and implementation of new programs and interventions; (4) reviews and syntheses of research evidence; (5) training and technical support to service providers and agencies on the implementation of evidence-based programs; and (6) the development of innovative ways to engage with community partners and bring knowledge generated at Cornell to practitioners, policy makers, and the general public.

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Valerie Adams co-authors chapter in new volume on racial stereotyping

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Valerie Adams, NY State 4-H Leader, co-authored a chapter, "Media Socialization, Black Media Images and Black Adolescent Identity," in the newly-published Racial Stereotyping and Child Development (Karger).

 

 

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Whitlock study finds that self-injury in young adults indicates suicide risk

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A paper published by the Journal of Adolescent Health on December 4th reports the findings of a longitudinal study on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) led by BCTR and Human Development researcher Dr. Janis Whitlock. In a Cornell Chronicle article on the study, Dr. Whitlock describes the findings:

While we can't conclude that self-injury leads to later suicide attempts, it is a red flag that someone is distressed and is at greater risk. This is important because self-injury is a relatively new behavior that does not show up much in the literature as a risk factor for suicide. It also suggests that if someone with self-injury history becomes suicidal, having engaged in NSSI may make it much easier to carry out the physical actions needed to lethally damage the body.

BCTR co-authors on the paper include BCTR director John Eckenrode, and Amanda Purington, project coordinator for the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior.

Nonsuicidal Self-injury as a Gateway to Suicide in Young Adults

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