Our Work


project

Rapid Translation of Research into Coronavirus Policy Response

This project will utilize an already-established Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC) established by Drs. Taylor Scott and Crowley that consists of a team of RPC fellows in Washington, DC and major research sites across the country in collaboration with Penn State’s Office of Government and Community Relations. This project will build on the infrastructure of the RPC to respond to legislators’ needs for research related to social and behavioral policy responses to the coronavirus.

Research Team

Daniel Max Crowley

Dr. Crowley directs the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative, a center within the SSRI. that houses the PSU Administrative Data Accelerator in partnership with the College of Health and Human Development. He is also PI of the Center for Heathy Children’s Dissemination and Outreach Core. Dr. Crowley’s research focuses on (1) strengthening methods for conducting benefit-cost analyses of preventive strategies, (2) leveraging administrative child welfare and related data to understand the fiscal impact of interventions, and (3) facilitating evidence-based policy-making through strategic investments in preventive services for children and families. Dr. Crowley is the PI on grants from the NIDA, NICHD as well as the Annie E. Casey, Laura & John Arnold, WT Grant, Michael and Susan Dell, Robert Wood Johnson and Doris Duke Charitable Foundations. Dr. Crowley also oversees the Research-to-Policy fellowship program, along with Dr. Taylor Scott, that provides doctoral and postdoctoral trainees the opportunity to work directly with policy audiences. Dr. Crowley often provides testimony and briefs Congress on issues related to the impact and financing of prevention strategies. Dr Crowley is also faculty on the PAMT T32 (NIDA) and Big Data to Knowledge (NLM) T32 training awards a PSU and serves as external faulty for the Arizona State University Prevention Training Fellowship (NIDA).

project

Impact of COVID-19 Social Distancing Response on Family Wellbeing and Child Safety

Drs. Connell and Strambler will conduct survey-based research to examine the relation of COVID-19 related stressors (e.g., direct exposure, impact of school and work closures, social distancing) on parents' levels of stress associated with parenting responsibilities or economic strain, as well as the effects on parents' discipline practices or care of their children that could adversely impact child safety and wellbeing. This information will provide critical insight into how best to support vulnerable children and their families during public health crises.

Research Team

Profile photo for Christian M. Connell, Ph.D.
Christian M. Connell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

PA Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS)

Pennsylvania Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS) is a developmental study of children adopted from the child welfare system between the ages of 4 and 10. The goal is to identify factors that predict both positive and negative outcomes for these children later in life.

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Brian Allen, Psy.D.
Brian Allen, Psy.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry

Director of Mental Health Services, Center for the Protection of Children

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
grant

Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth

This project extends the forensic sexual assault telehealth model pioneered by Penn State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center to provide expertise, training, peer review and live telehealth consultation to four new hospital sites that have a deficit in SANE response. 

Research Team

Profile photo for Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.
Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Principal Investigator: DOJ/OVC Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

The Child Health Study

A major project of our P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children is the Child Health Study which is a prospective, longitudinal study of a cohort of 1200 child welfare-involved children aged 8-13 from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This study aims to identify mechanisms of health disparities through a day-long assessment which includes physical health, brain health, behavioral health, and emotional health. A major focus of this study is to understand the biologic embedding of stress and the ways in which malleable behavioral factors (healthy lifestyle and behaviors, personal agency, prosocial engagement, regulation) can mitigate its impact. Finding will inform novel interventions promoting resilience so that abused and neglected children have the best chance of leading healthy, productive lives.

Research Team

Profile photo for Chad Shenk, Ph.D.
Chad Shenk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Profile photo for Christine Heim, Ph.D.
Christine Heim, Ph.D.

Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

TechnoTeens

TechnoTeens is a NICHD R01-funded study where we are objectively tracking the internet and social media behaviors of 460 sexually abused and comparison teens longitudinally from age 12 to 15. This study aims to articulate the role of internet pornography and high-risk social media behaviors on sexual development and on internet-initiated victimization (including sexual exploitation, cyber bullying, “slut-shaming”, and sex-trafficking). This is the first study to objectively monitor internet activity and social media behaviors and to record and quantify adolescents’ “internet and social media footprints” in real-time. Results will inform internet safety campaigns for normative and at-risk teens.

Research Team

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Early Psychosocial Intervention and Parent and Child Cardiovascular Disease Risk

This project focuses on the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk among 7-8 year old children and their parents part of an ongoing intervention trial evaluating the impact of a perinatal coparenting intervention (Family Foundations; PI: Mark Feinberg). We are following up with the original sample of 399 first-time parents and their children who were recruited across several states. This will allow us to investigate psychosocial pathways within the family that influence cardiovascular disease risk as well as potential intervention effects of Family Foundations on parent and child cardiovascular disease risk.

Research Team

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Biological embedding of early-life experiences: How early-life experiences impact childhood development and can accelerate aging

A project funded by the Sara van Dam Foundation (Roseriet Beijers, Radboud University, Netherlands PI, Shalev Co-I). Its aim is to test early-life factors associated with children’s socio-emotional development, cognition, and pubertal development. This includes biological-embedding mechanisms underlying this link. These research questions are being investigated in the Dutch BIBO-study (Basal Influences on the Baby Development): a prospective study in which 193 mothers and their children are followed from pregnancy until the last assessment at age 10. My lab is conducting all telomere length testing in children at both age 6 and 10.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

project

Complex interactions of behavior, genes, and environment in the multi-system characterization of the effects of sleep loss on health, cardio-metabolic disease risk, cognition, and the epigenome

The aim of this project is to comprehensively characterize cardio-metabolic, cognitive, genomic, and epigenetic effects of sleep insufficiency in a controlled laboratory setting. My lab assist with the collection and sorting of blood samples for DNA methylation and whole-genome expression analysis. For this study, we are further investigating specific type of cells including monocytes and lymphocytes.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Intergenerational transmission of trauma? Testing cellular aging in mothers exposed to sexual abuse and their children

The overarching goal is to test the hypothesis of intergenerational transmission of trauma by measuring cellular aging in both mothers and children, members of the Female Growth and Development Study. Specifically, we are testing telomere length in mothers exposed to sexual abuse, control mothers, and their children.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Temporal genomics mechanisms underlying disease and aging

The goal of this project is to identify genomic mechanisms involved in young adults’ response to stress, as moderated by early adversity. Specifically, we are testing whether individuals exposed to early-life adversity show dysregulated changes in gene expression in response to a well-established laboratory stressor, compared with a no-stress condition, and compared with individuals without exposure to early adversity.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
grant

Parent-Child Biobehavioral Coregulation and Child Maltreatment Risk

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

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