LCIRN News and Updates

LCIRN Year 2 in Review

Project Year 2 (Sept 2019 – Aug 2020) started out as planned for the Life Course Intervention Research Network (LCIRN), with 35 collaborators gathering in Los Angeles for the first all-network meeting in November 2019. This meeting laid the foundation for development of a life course intervention research agenda, and kicked off the work of our initial research nodes (Family Health, Schools, Early Childhood Mental Health). 

As it did for so many, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 required us to rethink both our methods and our priorities. We quickly shifted most of our activities to virtual formats and opened up our pilot and feasibility funds to COVID-related projects. We also took a step back and realized that the seismic shifts caused by the pandemic left an opening for transformations to how we think about wellbeing and intervene to improve kids’ lives. 

Highlights from Year 2

image of first page of LCIRN Year 2 progress report

Year 2 in Review

Click here for the full 2-page LCIRN progress report to learn more about our COVID research agenda and the work of our research nodes!

LCIRN News and Updates

Research Incubator: 5 pilot projects funded

In summer 2020, the LCIRN awarded its first round of funding to support researchers to conduct preliminary research and data collection that will help them to secure external funding for life course intervention research. The release of the RFA in March 2020 coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so funding opportunities were expanded to include pilot studies around the impacts of COVID on children and families, to support the development of future interventions in that field.

Proposed projects were required to meet the criteria for life course intervention research developed by the LCIRN steering committee, including being: optimization-focused, longitudinally-focused, strategically-timed, multi-level or holistic, and horizontally and vertically integrated. After an objective review process, five projects were selected:

  • Monitoring of youth experiencing homelessness in California during the COVID-19 ear and post-COVID-19 era, Coco Auerswald, UC Berkeley

Youth experiencing homelessness (YEH) are not only at greater risk of being infected by COVID-19 than their peers, but are also more likely to have their developmental trajectory to adulthood be affected by COVID-19 and its social and economic sequelae. To meet the need for a feasible, scalable and sustainable, as well as youth-engaged approach to monitor youth wellbeing and inform policies that will support their transition to adulthood, we will pilot and evaluate a youth-engaged approach. All study activities will either be informed by, conducted with or conducted by members of a team of youth community interns who will be recruited from the population of youth experiencing or exiting homelessness in San Francisco or Alameda Counties.

  • Population-wide integration of multi-tiered, evidence-based interventions to promote early childhood and parent mental health and development: two-generation strengths-based approach in an early childhood education center, Erica Coates, Georgetown

The Family Wellbeing Program (FWP) is a multigenerational, multi-tiered, early childhood education center-based intervention strategy offering a range of trauma-specific evidence- based and evidence-informed practices to families in under-resourced communities to promote mental health for young children and their parents. Using a population- based approach at an early childhood education center, we will investigate whether participation in the FWP is associated with 1) promotion of emotional and behavioral wellbeing in children and parents, 2) prevention of mental health problems in children and parents exposed to trauma, and 3) effective treatment of trauma-exposed children and parents with clinical distress or impairment.

  • Families of children with disabilities during COVID-19: exploring issues of service utilization and access, Priyanka Fernandes and Denise Nunez, UCLA

Children with developmental disabilities depend greatly on receiving appropriate services during crucial developmental stages to maximize their learning, health and independence during their life-course. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges in safe and effective delivery of services and high stress levels in families, highlighting the importance of emergency planning for this population. Our study aims at 1) understanding the service and health burden among families and children with disabilities, and 2) understanding best practices from local experts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Results will inform programmatic adaptation, allowing decision makers to plan for emergencies like the pandemic.

  • A Life Course Health Developmental Perspective to Develop Trauma-Informed Care for Obesity, Janet Rich-Edwards, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The prevention of obesity and care for people with obesity would be improved by a life course health development perspective that incorporates an understanding of the roles of trauma and stigma in obesity. To brainstorm and develop such a Trauma-Informed Care for Obesity (TICO) approach, we propose to convene diverse groups that have yet to engage with each other: fat activists, domestic violence advocates, academics, and the weight loss/wellness industry. The preliminary data will inform novel TICO programs and new funding applications.

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on economic adversity, parent mental health, parenting self-efficacy, and child development, Adam Schickedanz, UCLA

Low-income, socially marginalized communities are at greatest risk not only of being exposed to COVID-19 infection but suffering disproportionately under the economic fallout of the pandemic as a result of structural economic inequalities. We propose a detailed study of short-term trajectories of harms to family financial, health, parenting efficacy, and developmental outcomes in the rapidly-evolving epidemic’s first year, with subsequent longer-term follow-up measurement of these trajectories into the end of early childhood leveraging a study of an existing cohort of low-income, racially minoritized dyads of parents and their infants and young children. We will also examine resilience factors in each of these domains and time windows that could form the basis for targeted interventions to help socially marginalized families weather the economic and social storms of the post-COVID era.

Look for updates and results from the LCIRN pilot projects on our website and newsletter in the coming months!

LCIRN News and Updates

Putting the I in LCIRN

Children today are facing unprecedented and largely unrecognized challenges in a rapidly changing ecosystem. Unfortunately, traditional existing interventions are not sufficient to address them. We need to rethink our approach and transform outdated and ineffectual systems.

Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the Life Course Intervention Research Network (LCIRN) is a collaborative research and learning network designed to bring together a diverse group of researchers, health care providers, and family/community stakeholders to develop and promote disruptive and transformational changes to the ways we improve health outcomes over the life span. Applying the life course health development framework, the LCIRN will support researchers to identify opportunities for developing, implementing, and evaluating new approaches to optimize children’s health development trajectories, with an emphasis on reducing health disparities among under-served and vulnerable populations.

A National Coordinating Center for the network is located at UCLA. Investigators at partner institutions lead topic-specific research nodes made up of a diverse group of experts from the country’s top research institutions and maternal and child health stakeholder groups.
How is it different from the LCRN?
For those who have been part of the LCRN, you may be wondering how the LCIRN is different! In many ways, it is a natural follow-on to the work that we have been doing for the past decade, but with a leveling up. Going beyond understanding the mechanisms of life course health development, the LCIRN will incubate research on effective ways to intervene at key points in development, at the most appropriate social level, in order to have optimal impacts.

Graphic illustration of the LCIRN framework, research nodes, and "3 Horizons" concept


Our primary objectives are to

1.   Identify research priorities: Develop a national agenda of research priorities designed to identify when, where and how to intervene to promote health development over the life course

2.   Build the field: Build research capacity in the field and improve capacity to pursue the national research agenda by supporting research nodes to collaborate, develop, and implement research in key areas

3.   Accelerate the translation of research into practice and policy: build a transdisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and other stakeholders, support their collaboration, and ensure the timely dissemination of information and resources

4.      Train the next generation: Expand the number of researchers, especially early career, who are capable of and committed to using a life course perspective to transform systems and improve outcomes.


What we’ve accomplished

The LCIRN annual meeting (held Nov 7-8, 2019) brought together around 30 members to advance the LCIRN objectives.

·       We created a dynamic systems map that lays the foundations for children’s thriving. This systems map, along with a literature review and other foundational work, informed the development of a life course intervention research agenda (in process).


·       Researchers with common interests met to establish collaborative working groups (research nodes), focused on specific issues or influences on life course health development and/ or developing methodologies.  Our current nodes are:


    • School Health – led by Mitch Wong and Rebecca Dudovitz, UCLA
    • Adversity, Adaptation, and Resilience – led by Adam Schickedanz, UCLA
    • Family Health Development – led by Mark Feinberg, Penn State
    • Family Measurement – led by Shari Barkin, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    • Youth-Engaged Research – led by Emily Ozer and Marieka Schotland, UC Berkeley
    • Early Childhood Mental Health – led by Steve Buka, Brown University

·      Through these nodes, the network has already submitted a number of grant proposals.


·       Feinberg (Penn State) / Hock (Univ. South Carolina) (mPI) NIH/NICHD – Test of an Innovative, Scalable Support Program for Parents with a Young Child Recently Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

·       Feinberg (Penn State) Penn State seed grant – Measuring impacts of COVID-19 on family development

·       Kuo (UCLA): Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health



·       Feinberg, Lee (Penn State), Hotez (UCLA) NIH – Family Foundations Adaptation for Developmental Disabilities

·       Biel, Coates (Georgetown) NIMH – Using family peer support in early education settings as an implementation strategy to enhance delivery of multi-generational evidence-based mental health intervention

·       Dudovitz (UCLA) NIDA – Impact of AVID on teen substance use

·       Dudovitz (UCLA) NICHD/California Bureau of Cannabis Control – Development of an adolescent vital sign for behavioral health problems


  • We also funded 5 pilot projects as part of our research incubator. Read more about those soon!

What’s Next

In the coming months, we will be working with the network steering committee to finalize the life course intervention research agenda. We will also be developing trainings for network members on priority topics and cultivating a new generation of LCI researchers through a scholars’ program.


Finally, we’ll be accelerating the timely translation of LCI research. You’ll be hearing from us regularly with newsletters, webinars, resources, and spotlights on the exciting work that’s happening around the US and the world. We also welcome your contributions! Send relevant news updates, publications, conferences presentations, etc to


Keep in touch

We look forward to continuing to work and grow with you as we make this exciting transition towards a greater focus on transformational change. If you have any questions or would like to participate more actively in the network, please contact the LCIRN at You can sign up for our listserv to receive our quarterly newsletter and event and funding announcements here on the home page of this website.