Center for Research on Families Names 2019-20 Class of Family Research Scholars

Ian George Barron
Ian George Barron

Six faculty members representing five departments and four colleges have been selected to the 2019-20 class of Family Research Scholars by The Center for Research on Families (CRF).

Each academic year six faculty members are selected to participate in the program based on their promising work in family-related research. They participate in an intensive year-long seminar that provides concrete skills for successful grant submission, peer and faculty feedback on their developing proposals, individualized methodology consultation with CRF faculty and renowned experts and guidance on funding sources. The current group is the 16th cohort in the program's history.

The 2019 Family Research Scholars are:

Ian George Barron, professor, student development, director of the Center for International Education. Barron’s study aims to evaluate the efficacy of progressive counting for addressing childhood trauma, a novel and promising trauma therapy that uniquely integrates cognitive behavioral and brief-exposure approaches. Identifying effective therapies for detained youth offers the promise of breaking the cycle of trans-generational trauma and facilitating resilience at individual, familial and community levels.

Adam Grabell, assistant professor, psychological and brain science. Grabell’s study will test whether data collected from wearable and contactless devices can be used to detect child tantrums that indicate risk for mental disorder and predict the onset of a tantrum before it occurs in real time. The proposed study has the potential to move the field toward a future of artificial intelligence-assisted, home-based, early mental health detection and treatment.  

Devon Greyson, assistant professor, communication. Greyson’s study aims to understand how pregnant individuals make cannabis-use decisions amidst medical uncertainty, and how cultures, communities and governments affect that decision-making process. The results will help clinical and public health professionals to better communicate with the public about the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use in pregnancy and lactation.

Airín Martínez, assistant professor, health promotion and policy. Martínez plans to examine the relationship between chronic psychosocial stressors and physiological stress on salivary uric acid, a biomarker for oxidative stress, among Latinx families of different migrant family structures. The study hopes to demonstrate the consequences of parents’ legal vulnerabilities for children’s physical health. She hopes that her research can reverse policies excluding U.S. immigrant populations and inform community-based prevention strategies.

Nicole VanKim, assistant professor, biostatistics and epidemiology. VanKim’s goal is to develop a better understanding of how exposure to discrimination, stigma and bias, on the basis of one’s sexual orientation, may increase risk in developing type 2 diabetes. Specifically, she is interested in studying the potential mechanisms that contribute to sexual orientation disparities in type 2 diabetes among women; these potential mechanisms may be higher levels of cortisol and insulin resistance that exacerbate risk for type 2 diabetes among LGBT individuals. 

Jennifer Whitehill, assistant professor, health promotion and policy. Whitehill proposes to identify associations between state policies, community factors, and individual factors and drug-involved motor vehicle crashes. Her study will provide a comprehensive look at the problem of drug- and polysubstance-involved motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. and yield insights relevant to policymakers and public health advocates seeking to reduce the burden of drug-impaired driving on individuals, families and society.

The Center for Research on Families is an endowed interdisciplinary research center in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Natural Sciences.