The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Current News

Former Family Research Scholars Chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Project Fellows

Seven faculty members from across six departments and five colleges have been chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). The faculty fellows will draw on their substantial research records to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. Faculty fellows receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, and will travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers. 

Kathleen Arcaro (FRS '12-'13) Aims to Develop New Screening for BRCA-Positive Breastfeeding Women

Kathleen Arcaro, a former Family Research Scholar, supported by a $718,000 grant from the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program, is hoping to develop a new screening for BRCA-Positive Breastfeeding Women. The new, noninvasive test uses women’s breast milk to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. New mothers, and to a greater extent those with a BRCA mutation, face an increased risk of pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC), which is often aggressive, for about a decade postpartum.

CRF Mourns the Passing of Health Promotion and Policy Assistant Professor Louis Graham

We at the Center for Research on Families (CRF) at UMass Amherst were deeply saddened to learn that Louis Graham passed away suddenly on December 29, 2019. Louis was a former Family Research Scholar from 2016-2017, a member of our Stress Research Group, and a member of the Public Engagement Project. His research focused on understand the psychological determinants of mental and sexual health among ethnic minorities and sexually marginalized groups - including depression, anxiety, and HIV prevention among black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender women. He used community based participatory approached to facilitate power sharing amongst community stakeholders. Louis was committed to his work and a valued member of the communities he served. His passion, drive, and kindness will be missed. We will remember Louis for his important contributions to the field and for his advocacy. 

Brian Whitcomb Named Co-Editor of New "Methods Corner" Section of American Journal of Epidemiology

Brian Whitcomb, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at UMass Amherst and member of the CRR Stress Research Group, along with Ashley Naimi of the University of Pittsburgh, will lead a new section of the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) titled the “Methods Corner.” Each month it will include a brief refresher on either current methods or novel methodological applications. “I’m very excited about the Methods Corner, and to be working with a great group at AJE. The Methods Corner is a natural extension of my work here at UMass, and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to research and education in the field,” says Whitcomb.

Linda Tropp talks of effects of contact between minority and majority groups

Linda Tropp, former Family Research Scholar, explains that studies from the last 10 to 15 years suggest that the positive effects of intergroup contact tend to be weaker among members of historically advantaged groups. There has also been growing concern that contact may effectively reduce prejudice between groups but do little to change existing social inequalities.

Pilsner Interviewed for “Environmental Health Chats” Podcast

Richard Pilsner, associate professor of environmental health sciences, was recently interviewed for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ podcast series “Environmental Health Chats.” The series explores how environmental exposures affect our health, with each episode highlighting ways researchers work in partnership with community groups to understand and address environmental health issues.

Vandenberg Gives Talk at Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam

Laura Vandenberg, associate professor of environmental health sciences, who was recently recognized as among the world’s most highly cited scientists, gave a talk explaining her research on harmful chemicals found in plastic at the first annual Plastic Health Summit held in Amsterdam earlier this fall. Her presentation focused on how early life exposure to chemicals and chemical mixtures can predispose individuals to diseases that manifest later in life.

Robert Marcotte Recieves NEACSM Award

Three kinesiology students, including a member of the CRF Student Grant Writing Program Robert Marcotte, received awards and scholarships during the annual New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (NEACSM) Fall Conference held November 7-8 in Providence, Rhode Island.​

“We are so proud of our undergraduate and graduate students,” says Jane Kent, Professor and Chair of the Department. “These awards reflect the excellence and intent with which they pursue their studies here at UMass, and the long tradition of our faculty providing top-tier research experiences for our students.”

Doctoral student Robert Marcotte won the NEACSM Lawrence E. Armstrong Minority Scholarship, which is awarded to support and encourage professional development and academic excellence in minority students in the New England region.