The field of life course intervention research studies how and when to intervene in the life course in order to optimize health outcomes. This transformative approach looks at the whole person and the whole ecosystem and identifies optimal points and ways to reduce risk and maximize protective/preventive factors.
There are still a lot of barriers to addressing challenges through this framework, including numerous gaps in our knowledge about how and when to intervene for maximum effectiveness and efficiency, lack of a strong research and data infrastructure for prioritization, and a shortage of platforms and funds to pilot and scale effective approaches. Additionally, many researchers lack the knowledge, skills, and resources to carry out innovative and impactful life course intervention research. Finally, the failure to meaningfully engage patients, families, and communities in life course research means that approaches are not necessarily responsive to their challenges and needs.
Leveraging the collective intelligence of a growing life course intervention research community, the LCIRN will identify and scale better ways of improving life course trajectories for children and families, with an emphasis on reducing health disparities among under-served and vulnerable populations.
The National Coordinating Center supports researchers working in collaborative research nodes to develop and promote innovative conceptual models and research project plans that are consistent with the guiding frameworks, mission, vision, and values of the Network. Nodes are led by subject matter experts and focus on a specific topic area around which there are significant gaps or opportunities for progress using the life course health development framework.
LCIRN Research Nodes are organized around important themes in life course intervention research, such as family health development, schools, early childhood mental health, adversity/adaptation/resilience, and youth engagement. The nodes aim to bring together researchers and stakeholders from different institutions to build the field of life course intervention research by filling in key gaps in knowledge around specific life course influences, leverage points, or periods of development; developing new tools; designing and testing interventions; and pushing the conceptual thinking around specific topic areas to improve life course outcomes.