John Eckenrode's achievements have left an indelible mark on the department of human development. He was founding Director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, He founded and co-directed the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect. He received the 2017 Nicholas Hobbs Award from Division 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) of the American Psychological Association (APA) for his exemplary research on child advocacy and policy and is a fellow of APA's Division 7 (Developmental Psychology).
John Eckenrode has played a critical role in the development of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program (NFPP) which has been in existence for more than 40 years.
To learn more about Eckenrode's research and a discussion of what is translational research, listen to his interview with Karl Pillemer.
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Anthony Burrow, Professor in the Department of Human Development and co-director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), was interviewed for the podcast "Extension Out Loud." The podcast, along with podcasts of other HD faculty, can be found on the HD Today e-NEWS Soundcloud webpage - click here. Read more below about how PRYDE supports 4-H programs and contributes to positive youth development.
Cornell Chronicle, March 14, 2019
by R.J. Anderson
How can exploring identity and sense of purpose help young people get more out of programs such as 4-H?
In the latest episode of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Extension Out Loud” podcast, Anthony Burrow, associate professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology, shares his research on the benefits of helping youth think about long-term personal goals and self-identifying “their why” prior to introducing programming.
Burrow, co-director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), suggested that before program leaders kick off activities, they lead youth participants through a series of exercises designed to identify long-term goals and prompt them to examine their future selves. Tapping into this perspective can give programming more meaning and help youth stay focused.
A sense of purpose can also be a weapon against negative or overreactions in their daily lives.
“We’ve often thought of purpose as a sort of protection against negative experiences or stressors,” said Burrow, recipient of the 2019 Engaged Scholar Prize administered by the Office of Engagement Initiatives. “So on days when challenges happen or negative events or negative experiences happen, might having a sense of purpose help people react less negatively to those experiences?”
During the 33-minute episode, co-hosted by CCE staff members Katie Baildon and Paul Treadwell, Burrow covers an array of topics, including:
- The need to provide youth and adults with safe spaces where they can experiment with different identities to develop purpose, for which 4-H is a great vehicle, Burrow said.
- How Burrow’s lab has observed the benefits of social media and exploring how it can be a place where youth are exposed to ideas and experiences and can make observations that could not otherwise happen. In his research, Burrow finds having a sense of purpose in life can stave off heightened affective or emotional reactivity to something as simple receiving (or not receiving) a thumbs-up on a social media selfie.
- How while there is a lot of wonderful development happening through programs and clubs, particularly 4‑H, delivery of those programs and the impacts they are having often go understudied or unexamined. “There’s this gap between the research that’s relevant to youth and the good work that’s happening in communities,” he said. “PRYDE was born out of an attempt to create some infrastructure to bring these two crowds together.”
R.J. Anderson is a writer/communications specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Elaine Wethington is elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Dr. Wethington is recognized for distinguished contributions to medical sociology.
Corinna Loeckenhoff says that shifting stereotypes is no simple feat. People develop their views on aging when they are toddlers, but they also change based on experience. Unfortunately, negative beliefs are often built on inaccurate impressions.
Research has found that loneliness is a known risk factor for cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, disability and depression. Anthony Ong urges addressing the direct, indirect, and moderated effects of social isolation and loneliness on health.
Since its launch in September 2016, the Cornell Race and Empathy Project has recorded, archived and shared the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy. To continue fostering the ability to identify and understand the feelings of someone of a different background, the project has evolved into an online presence.
John Eckenrode and Karl Pillemer discuss the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.
STUDENTS IN THE NEWS
Three of Tamar Kushnir's graduate students--Teresa Flanagan, Alyssa Varhol, and Alice Xin Zhao--reflect on what led them to work with Dr. Kushnir and enroll in the Department of Human Development Graduate Program.
College of Human Ecology Communications, by Tom Fleischman
Nine Cornell faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
The association elected 417 new fellows for 2018, honoring their efforts to advance research and its applications in scientifically or socially distinguished ways. New fellows will receive a certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin at the 2019 AAAS annual meeting, Feb. 16 in Washington, D.C.
Elaine Wethington, professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology, of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences and of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. Wethington is recognized for distinguished 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.
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research's podcast series, "Doing Translational Research," May 2, 2018
It's our 20th episode! This seemed like a good moment to address a question we often hear: What is translational research?
To tackle this important question Karl is joined by BCTR associate director John Eckenrode. They cover the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.
John Eckenrode is a social psychologist and professor of human development and associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. He is also founder and co-director of the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect. His research concerns child abuse and neglect, the effects of preventive interventions, translational research, and stress and coping processes.
The Cornell Chronicle, August 1, 2017.
By Stephen D'Angelo
Cornell researchers are working with Head Start Centers and day schools in New York City on early-intervention work to promote development of spatial skills and language acquisition in preschoolers.
Marianella Casasola, associate professor of human development and a faculty fellow of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, said studies show those with better spatial skills are more likely to flourish in STEM fields.
“Working with children at Head Start in Harlem and through a partnership with the Audrey Johnson Day Care Learning Center in Brooklyn allows us to focus on families from a variety of demographics and backgrounds, and to target research on environmental factors within populations of various socioeconomic status,” Casasola said.
Casasola is examining the benefits of constructive play – using blocks, puzzles and shapes – and how language through narration of activities affects cognitive development and spatial skills. She hopes her research findings will inform early-education programs and lead to creation of ideal environments to develop children’s cognitive skills, no matter their demographic background.
“Our goal is to not only understand how early spatial and language skills develop, but also how best to promote their development both at home and in the classroom,” she said. “Designed for preschoolers from low-income families, these programs would be constructed to establish environments for the early development of these skills and promote parent interaction within day-to-day activities, such as counting, simple math and reading.”
Casasola and her team of students are collaborating with the Clinical and Translational Science Center at Weill Cornell Medicine to discover effective approaches to translate such findings for families. She and her students design and host monthly parent training workshops at Brooklyn’s Audrey Johnson day school.
“Children who both interacted and were narrated to saw at least a 30 percent increase in spatial gains over the group that still interacted with the same sorts of activities and games, but did not have language incorporated into their play by an adult,” she said. “Both groups improved, but those who heard items being labeled and actions described showed significantly greater gains.”
The hope is to integrate such development practices into the busyness of day-to-day life and positively impact a child’s language and learning development.
“Many people are surprised to hear that talking to infants really matters,” Casasola said. “The simple message is, remember to talk to your child. And have fun even for only a few minutes of play.”
Reprinted from the Cornell Chronicle, May 25th, 2016
The cuts, burns and scars of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) are rarely seen, as they are inflicted in private and hidden under pant legs and sleeves.
Janis Whitlock, Ph.D. ’03, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery (CRPSIR) and a research scientist in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, hopes to spotlight the issue by launching a set of web-based education and training courses. Working with eCornell, the university’s online learning subsidiary, she is showing how researchers can use the internet to broaden their reach well beyond campus.
The curriculum, aimed at individuals who interact with youths in school, community and clinical settings, as well as parents, offers research-based information paired with intervention and prevention strategies to address a phenomenon that is widespread but not yet fully understood.
“It’s a scary thing to encounter,” said Whitlock. “It’s just not your typical, run-of-the-mill risk behavior.”
Individuals practicing NSSI – upward of 15 percent of adolescents and young adults try it at least once – deliberately damage their bodies, for example by cutting, burning or carving their skin or punching objects or themselves to inflict harm. Whitlock cites 15 to 17 percent lifetime prevalence of NSSI among Cornell students, according to surveys.
Although the surface wounds may look like suicide attempts, Whitlock pointed out that NSSI is, in fact, a coping mechanism for individuals trying to deal with intense feelings or attempting to reconnect from a sense of dissociation that stems from a history of trauma or abuse.
After first hearing about NSSI among otherwise functional, nonclinical adolescents more than a decade ago, Whitlock launched epidemiological studies, founded CRPSIR and brought together colleagues to form the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury in 2006. “Now we have so much literature coming out, I can’t keep up with it,” she said. But research on techniques for intervention in schools and families is still nascent, and findings do not always reach those in need.
“When I give presentations in schools, even elementary schools, I can pack a house talking about self-injury – it’s really pretty sad,” said Whitlock. “People come up to me asking for follow-up information. Clearly we need another dissemination vehicle.”
Paul Krause ’91, CEO of eCornell and associate vice provost for online learning, agreed: “We quickly recognized that it would make sense to work together because eCornell has all the capabilities to support the development, delivery and marketing of an online NSSI course.”
Best known for its professional development courses in such areas as marketing, finance and hospitality, eCornell also applies its experience and best practices to specialized curricula such as Whitlock’s to extend research-based education to learners beyond Ithaca.
Some 40 participants have enrolled since the first, self-paced version of the NSSI 101 courselaunched in February. This month, Whitlock is facilitating co-experts on NSSI by teaching the first iteration of a three-week version that offers eight to 10 hours of interactive instruction and continuing education credits. Shorter, abridged courses are also in development for medical professionals and parents of children who self-injure.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Krause, under whose leadership eCornell doubled the number of faculty members it works with to more than 100 over the past year. “We have faculty who are leading experts in their fields. eCornell’s mission is to help them use online learning to reach people all over the world.” (Whitlock’s first registrant was from South Korea.)
“The audiences with whom we seek to engage – be they parents, educators or others – need information that is high-quality, based in sound research, is compelling and that they can access on their own schedule,” added Rachel Dunifon, associate dean for research and outreach in theCollege of Human Ecology. “Working with eCornell to deliver research-based programming allows us to take a cutting-edge approach to our public engagement mission, broadening our reach and enhancing our impact as we seek to fulfill our college mission of improving lives.”
Olivia M. Hall, Ph.D. '12, is a freelance writer and anthropologist.