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Cross-Cutting Issues Resources

Family Matters

Graphic showing four families

by Shari Barkin and Sophia De Oliveira

Families matter. In fact, family health is the most proximal social determinant of health we have. While many measurement tools exist for individuals, it is just as critical to measure family functioning to capture context.  The Family Measurement Node, nested in the Life Course Intervention Research Network, conducted a scoping literature review to identify existing family functioning tools and innovative opportunities for further development. We created a matrix to identify these tools and, when available, a link to access them easily. The ultimate goal of the family measurement node is to consistently implement family measurement to pinpoint areas for intervention and inform policy.

We identified 40 tested family functioning tools and created a family measurement tool matrix. These tools assess different aspects of family functioning such as organizational processes, belief systems, and communication processes.  We encourage you to try it out and let us know how this helps you further your life course research intervention development and implementation, keeping family front and center.

 

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Resources

Charting the Life Course: an interdisciplinary blueprint

Charting the life course: an interdisciplinary blueprint visualizes the pathways forward: integrate data sets across the life span, improve data science, model high-dimensional data in new ways, systems and network modeling, standardized measures

The NCATS Life Course Research Visual Toolkit, Charting the Life Course: An Interdisciplinary Blueprint, which officially launched on April 14th, serves to increase knowledge about innovative life course research methods by providing content that is widely available and accessible to researchers across multiple disciplines through both longer and shorter visual formats presented by national and international experts in life course research.

In addition to the six recorded webinars, there are shorter 5 – 15 minute videos to allow a personalized educational approach for anyone interested in learning more about life course research methods and applications. The video archive, available in the CLIC Education Clearinghouse and Life Course Visual Toolkit YouTube Channel, includes both broad overviews of the subject matter and ‘How To’ videos that describe best practices for applying data science and complex methodological techniques to life course research questions.

This toolkit was made possible through the generous contributions of the planning committee and speakers’ time, with support from the Vanderbilt (VUMC 5UL1TR002243-04) and Utah (ULTTR002538) CTSAs and partial funding from the Life Course Intervention Research Network (Health Resources and Services Administration, UA6MC32492). Drs. Heidi Hanson and Shari Barkin led the working group to develop and create the toolkit.

Categories
Mental Health Resources

Children’s Mental Health and the Life Course Model

Picture of a pregnant woman and her toddler with their hands on her belly

With rapidly rising rates of mental health disorders, the need for a better understanding of the developmental origins and influence of mental health on children’s behavioral health outcomes has become critical. 

This six-part webinar series, co-organized by the LCRN/LCIRN and the NASEM Forum for Children’s Well-being, focused on exploring how mental health disorders develop over the life span, with a special emphasis on prenatal, early, middle, and later childhood development. This series emphasized identifying gaps in our scientific knowledge, explored new strategies for using existing data to enhance our understanding of the developmental origins of mental disorders, reviewed potential approaches to prevention and optimization, and considered new ways of framing how we understand, address, and prevent disorders from a life course development perspective. The proceedings from this workshop series and the videos of the webinars are are now available online.

 
 
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Resources

Designing Evidence-based Public Health and Prevention Programs

Demonstrating that public health and prevention program development is as much art as science, Designing Evidence-based Public Health and Prevention Programs brings together expert program developers to offer practical guidance and principles in developing effective behavior-change curricula.

Edited by Mark Feinberg, Research Professor at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center (PRC), this collection of stories gives readers a “behind-the scenes” look at how the developers approached creating, refining, testing, and disseminating a range of programs and strategies, addressing a range of physical, mental, and behavioral health problems across the lifespan.

The book takes readers on a journey with the developers as they describe how their projects began and how they overcame obstacles through creative problem-solving, offering insights that might otherwise be learned in conversation with the experts over coffee. 

Feinberg notes that for most scientists, “the actual construction of a preventive health program consists of an active leap beyond our knowledge base.” The book illustrates how program developers ventured beyond the scientific realm, exploring the worlds of academic entrepreneurship and community-based research.

Readers will learn about selecting change-promoting targets based on existing research; developing and creating effective and engaging content; considering implementation and dissemination contexts in the development process; and revising, refining, expanding, abbreviating, and adapting a curriculum across multiple iterations.

The book is geared toward prevention scientists, prevention practitioners, and program developers in community agencies. It also provides a unique resource for graduate students and postgraduates in family sciences, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, social work, education, nursing, public health, and counseling.

Categories
Life Course Health Development Theory Resources

Handbook of Life Course Health Development

ONLINE VERSION OUT NOW!

This handbook synthesizes and analyzes the growing knowledge base on life course health development (LCHD) from the prenatal period through emerging adulthood, with implications for clinical practice and public health. It presents LCHD as an innovative field with a sound theoretical framework for understanding wellness and disease from a lifespan perspective, replacing previous medical, biopsychosocial, and early genomic models of health. Interdisciplinary chapters discuss major health concerns (diabetes, obesity), important less-studied conditions (hearing, kidney health), and large-scale issues (nutrition, adversity) from a lifespan viewpoint. In addition, chapters address methodological approaches and challenges by analyzing existing measures, studies, and surveys. The book concludes with the editors’ research agenda that proposes priorities for future LCHD research and its application to health care practice and health policy.

Topics featured in the Handbook include:
• The prenatal period and its effect on child obesity and metabolic outcomes.
• Pregnancy complications and their effect on women’s cardiovascular health.
• A multi-level approach for obesity prevention in children.
• Application of the LCHD framework to autism spectrum disorder.
• Socioeconomic disadvantage and its influence on health development across the lifespan.
• The importance of nutrition to optimal health development across the lifespan.

The Handbook of Life Course Health Development is a must-have resource for researchers, clinicians/professionals, and graduate students in developmental psychology/science; maternal and child health; social work; health economics; educational policy and politics; and medical law as well as many interrelated subdisciplines in psychology, medicine, public health, mental health, education, social welfare, economics, sociology, and law.

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