New center promotes health and healing from early life trauma and adversity

The cornerstone of this Center for Safe and Healthy Children will be two major infrastructure grants, of which Knoll is the principal investigator. First is a $7.7 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to finance the nation’s first center of excellence in child abuse. The award funds a large longitudinal study of children to better understand who is resilient to trauma and stress and why.

The other major grant is also an award of $1.6 million from NICHD. This grant supports the training of pre- and postdoctoral fellows to address child abuse in four tracks: Developmental Processes, Biology and Health, Prevention and Treatment, and Policy and Administrative Data. The Center for Safe and Healthy Children also provides extensive research experiences for undergraduates and other graduate students through assistantships and internships.

In the United States, research shows that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. To reverse the course of this national epidemic of childhood sexual abuse, researchers from the Center for Safe and Healthy Children look at how to stop sexual abuse before it happens.

Noll said, “We developed a novel prevention program that teaches parents the skills they need to protect their children from potential sexual abuse both online and offline, and to create a safe environment for all children in their community. ”

Already implemented throughout Pennsylvania through major state partnerships, the parenting skills program will soon be deployed at more than 30 sites nationally through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. In addition to developing and implementing training, the center will use its website to provide resources for the general public to identify signs of abuse, prevent abuse, and report abuse.

The Center will develop and leverage state-of-the-art statistical methods for the data that will be collected over time. This research could improve life-course risk modeling and personalized medicine. Zachary Fischer, assistant professor of human development and family studies, member of the SSRI Quantitative Development Systems Methodology Core and associate director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, facilitates researchers to conduct cutting-edge analysis, produce competitive grant proposals, collaborate Will guide you to do so. , and applying life-course risk models.

“The College of Health and Human Development has a long history of expertise, innovation and leadership in the development of research methods,” said Fisher. “Long-term studies, such as those that will be supported through the new center, hold particular promise for discovering the right timing to intervene with people who have experienced childhood trauma or extreme stress.”

Promoting evidence-based policy and legislation is an important component of improving the lives of children. The center will partner with SSRI’s Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative to directly support evidence-informed policymaking and foster greater public investment in prevention and treatment. In doing so, the center will continue a five-year trend where child-abuse researchers at Penn State have served as a leading resource for policymakers, advising state and federal lawmakers on a range of issues related to child welfare and adversity. . For example, many of the center’s faculty members participated in congressional briefings and hearings prior to the most recent reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

Fundamentally, the center will support and provide research support to transdisciplinary teams whose research will improve health and well-being for those exposed to early life stress, trauma and adversity. Through policy action, the Center will mobilize public investment in access to prevention and intervention while accelerating the impact of science in the lives of children and families.

“This new center will solidify Penn State’s position as a national leader in creating cutting-edge science to improve the lives of children who suffer at the hands of others. I look forward to better protecting and fighting children,” said Knoll. I look forward to expanding our local, state and federal partnerships to leverage the use of sound research to inform policies designed to support families.” Our training program will empower future generations of scientific innovation Will inspire you to dedicate your career to supporting and advocating for a safe and healthy environment for children everywhere.”

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