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July 2015

University - Based Child and Family Policy Consortium Newsletter

Table of Contents:

Linking Research to Policy: Congressional Testimony

Melissa N. Richards, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
In this issue of Linking Research to Policy, I interviewed Dr. Walter Gilliam (pictured below), Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at Yale University and the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy.  Recently, Dr. Gilliam was invited to testify for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations about federal investments in early childhood education.  He shared his thoughts about linking research to policy during this unique testimony opportunity.

Engaging in congressional testimony is certainly one of the most direct and impactful applications of developmental science to policy. You may ask the question—how does one prepare a congressional testimony? Gilliam mentioned that his most important prep work involved trying to understand the major questions that the policymakers had when they asked him to testify. Once he fully understood the questions and the issues at hand, he called to mind the scholarly work relevant to the topic. Gilliam mentioned the importance of recognizing that testifying is not like a poster presentation or scientific presentation where showing the latest or inventive cutting-edge research is the priority. Rather, policymakers are looking for research that is accessible to them and that informs their decisions.  

Once this information source is clear, Gilliam mentioned the best practices for translating and communicating the findings of developmental science to policymakers during a congressional testimony (however, these guidelines can be universally applied to other types of policy settings). He suggested that the first step is to make the presented information relevant to policymakers’ issues. Once something becomes relevant and specific, Gilliam and the policymakers can then engage in a thoughtful discussion. Another suggestion from him was to use plain language—for example, policymakers do not want to hear about p-values, rather, they just want to know if something is significant and had a large effect on the sample.

I then asked him how he decided which recommendations he wanted to present to Congress. He mentioned that understanding how programs are structured and how laws are written was essential to his ability to come up with reasonable suggestions for Congress. Always staying updated on recent literature and reading the latest research also aided him in identifying important data that he wanted to present during his testimony.

Gilliam did, however, mention some limitations of applying research to policy. One of them is that research is usually not designed to answer specific policy questions, and as such, we cannot be fully certain that results will link directly with the needs of policymakers. Finally, he mentioned that science simply cannot answer some questions—for example, value judgments.

Looking forward to the future, Gilliam mentions that one of the challenges is that “science moves slowly, yet policy moves quickly.” As such, when there is a big policy question, it is hard to design a full study and get the data back quickly enough to apply it promptly to the issue at hand. In his view, we cannot be responsive, rather, we “have to be proactive and predict the likely questions that will arise.” In order to make these thoughtful predictions, he mentioned that it is important that people understand and research some of the perennial issues that arise continually over time during policymaking. He also suggested the importance of forming relationships with the policy offices of professional organizations like ZERO TO THREE, SRCD or NAEYC, who can become allies in helping researchers anticipate policy needs.
Dr. Walter Gilliam’s suggestions are not only helpful for those testifying in front of Congress—but for any developmental scientist looking to make a connection between their research and policy.Through these techniques, we all have the ability to impact children and their families throughout the U.S. and the world.

Dr. Gilliam’s testimony can be viewed here.

New Consortium Calls will resume in Fall 2015.

 Look for announcements on the Consortium listserv about future Consortium Calls.
Interested in suggesting a topic for a call? Contact Sarah Mancoll, Consortium Coordinator or Hannah Klein, Consortium Assistant. 

Recent Consortium Calls

 A recent Consortium webinar, entitled, "Strategies for Identifying and Acting on Opportunities for Student Engagement on Policy Issues" was held on May 19, 2015. Click below to access the archived webcast.
Watch here
 A recent Consortium webinar, entitled, "The Job You Want: Paths to Academic and Non Academic Careers" was held on May 15, 2015. Click below to access the archived webcast.
Watch here
 A recent Consortium webinar, entitled, "Dissertation Funding for Child and Family Policy Researchers" was held on April 8, 2015. Click below to access the archived webcast.
Watch here

Consortium Membership

The CFP Consortium invites new university-based programs to join.

Consortium membership is available on an institutional level and includes, but is not limited to, university-based centers and programs that represent the social, behavioral, and health sciences fields, including anthropology, economics, human development, nursing, pediatrics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. All persons affiliated with a member institution (e.g., faculty, staff, students) benefit from Consortium membership. People who are affiliated with member institutions are welcome to engage in Consortium Calls and events and to join the Consortium listserv.

For more information on how to join, please
contact Sarah Mancoll and Hannah Klein

Member News & Resources

In an op-ed for Education Week on ways in which the U.S. could modify its approach to standardized testing, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia cited research of Finland’s education success story conducted by Boston College Lynch School of Education’s Brennan Chair Andy Hargreaves and Professor Dennis Shirley.

On March 3, Dr. Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM, ICYFP Scientist and Lecturer, of Brandeis University’s Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy, gave a talk to the Heller School titled, “The NOURISH Study: A Policy Evaluation of New School Nutrition Standards in Massachusetts.” The NOURISH study is a policy evaluation that explores the impact of an unfunded State mandate on schools.

Alice Kuo, MD, associate director of the UCLA center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities, was quoted in’s June 2015 article “Transition from pediatric to adult care ‘takes a village’ for patients with developmental disabilities.”
Case Western Reserve University’s Schubert Center for Child Studies produced a short document highlighting the state of Cleveland’s kids. Topics include child poverty, health, abuse and neglect, education, and food access. 
Download the snapshot.
Ariel Kalil and Susan E. Mayer, researchers at University of Chicago’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, found that parents spent substantially more time reading with their children after receiving texts with tips about how to read with their preschoolers. Their findings—read
here—were cited in the New York Times article “Helping the Poor in Education: The Power of a Simple Nudge,” which you can read here.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, M.ED, Ph.D. of The National Center for Children and Families at Columbia University was recognized with the Matilda White Riley Award and Lecture on June 23, 2015 as part of celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, MD. Read more
Cornell University’s Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research hosted its annual Youth Development Research Update,which brings together 4-H educators, Cornell Cooperative Extension county leaders, and others in New York State affiliated with youth programs with Cornell researchers. Read more
Research by Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy was cited in the Boston Globe’s June article entitled, “Is bullying worse than abuse?” Read it

Bill Gormley of Georgetown’s Center for Research on Children in the United States was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article,  
"How parents cope with America's child-care 'crisis'".
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University released a video entitled “InBrief: Early Childhood Mental Health” that explains how improving children’s relationships and experiences early in life can prevent initial difficulties from destabilizing later development and mental health. Watch it

Two studies from The Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have provided further evidence that a plasticizing agent used in auto upholstery, baby toys, building materials and many other consumer products, can undermine female reproductive health, in part by disrupting the growth and function of the ovaries. Read more
The Center for Human Growth and Potential at the University of Michigan hosted the ninth seminar of the BioSocial Methods Collaborative’s Winter 2015 Seminar Series: BioSocial Methods, entitled, “Population, neuroscience, and genetics: How do we model the complexity of human development?” Watch the presentation

Drs. Pamela Morris, Alan Mendelsohn of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change and Daniel Shaw of the University of Pittsburgh were awarded a grant from NIH titled, "Integrated model for promoting parenting and early school readiness in pediatrics." The study tests an innovative primary and secondary/tertiary prevention approach to the promotion of school readiness in very young children in low-income families, through enhancement of positive parenting practices and when present, reduction of the impact of psychosocial stressors, within the pediatric primary care platform.
The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill announced in May that their team’s research-based recommendations to ignite the growth of young children’s language and communication skills reached over 40,000 readers. Read the recommendations
Dr. Kent Hymel, a member of The Children, Youth and Families Consortium at Pennsylvania State University, developed a new screening approach to help doctors identify potential child abuse cases. Read about it
In January, Joan Eichner presented at the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness Conference, entitled “Beyond Housing: A National Conversation on Child Homelessness and Poverty,” hosted by University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development. She spoke about opportunities to bring research to practice and intervene early to reduce stress and adversity in the lives of young children. View the slides
Nicholas Kristof, in an op-ed for the New York Times about how poor policy decisions have affected children and families, cited
this article by The Princeton University Center for Research on Child Wellbeing’s Sara McLanahan and her colleague from Harvard, to emphasize the effects of father absence on children. Read it here.

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released their yearly report on state-funded preschool programs across the U.S, a report that chronicles both how many 4- and 3-year-olds are receiving early education and whether or not these programs are adequately serving them. The report indicates that these programs have finally begun to recover from cuts made during the recession. Read the report
Dr. Stephanie Currenton, professor at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, discussed in a blog post The White House Initiative of Educational Excellence for African Americans and what the initiative can mean for early childhood education, by focusing on what educational structures are needed to ensure African Americans/Blacks are on the path to success even before they enroll in the K-12 system. Read the blog post

In April, Dr. Barbara Burns of Santa Clara University was featured on a panel, “Mindfulness in Parenting,” held by another Consortium member, the University of Washington’s Center for Child and Family Well-Bring, as part of their “Mindful Families, Schools & Communities” conference. Her presentation, “Promoting Resilience in Young Children Through Parenting: A Pilot Study,” featured work she has done through the community parenting program that she has developed, the Resilient Families Program (RFP). Read more
Milbrey McLaughlin, founding director of Stanford’s Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, co-authored an article exploring the numerous benefits recess can yield to an elementary school’s overall climate, especially in low-income schools. Read it
David Yeager of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and Angela Duckworth (University of Pennsylvania) report in a new article in Education Researcher on the ways in which non-cognitive measures developed for psychological research can be misapplied in educational policy and practice. They urge caution in applying widely-used measurement tools in non-cognitive research to education. Read their article
The Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas at Austin released a helpful infographic showing the importance of father involvement in children’s lives. Check it out

David Henry Feldman, chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, was recently quoted in a article on autism, read the entire article
Youth –Nex of The Center to Promote Effective Youth Development at the University of Virginia, has announced the launch of a six-year, $11 million randomized control trial, the Compassionate Schools Project, integrating a health and wellness curriculum for K-5 students in 25 schools in Louisville, Kentucky. According to the project’s director, Patrick Tolan, “the research is the most comprehensive ever undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum in an elementary or secondary school setting.” Read more
In February, Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington released their first Annual Report of Child Welfare System Performance. It was created to help Washington better understand how children served by the state child welfare system are faring in the areas of safety, permanency, well-being, and education. Read it

Walter Gilliam, the director of Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, spoke on the panel “What’s Behind Preschool Expulsion,” sponsored by ZERO TO THREE and the National Black Child Development Institute. He explained that, “When we expel children who need the services the most from the program, we undercut the business model of early care and education. We've now taken out the children who are likely to give us our biggest return on investment out of the service." Watch highlights from the panel


Open Calls for Conference Proposals and Papers

Call for Paper and Session Submissions: American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2016 Annual Meeting, April 8-April 12 in Washington DC. The theme for the AERA 2016 Annual Meeting will be “Public Scholarship to Educate Diverse Democracies.” This is AERA’s Centennial Year. In honor of this important anniversary, “the 2016 Meeting will illuminate and enhance the role of education researchers as public scholars who contribute to public understanding, political debate, and professional practice in increasingly diverse democracies in the United States and around the globe.” Submission is open to AERA members and non-members. Please review the Call for Submissions carefully for the elements that must be included in submissions. Paper and session submissions are due July 22, 2015. Click here to learn more.  There is also a Call for Volunteer Session Chairs and Discussants, due August 28. To learn more about how to volunteer to serve as a chair or discussant, click here.

Call for Paper and Session Submissions: Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS), June 1-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is pleased to announce that the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency will be held Jun 1-3, 2016 in Washington D.C. For nearly 20 years, this meeting has been a leading forum for researchers, State and local administrators, practitioners, and Federal officials and policymakers to discuss cutting-edge research on family self-sufficiency and social welfare programs and policies. The conference will focus on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and related programs, policies and services that support low-income and vulnerable families on the path to economic self-sufficiency, including such topics as education, training and success in the labor market; child and youth well-being; fatherhood, relationships and strengthening families; evaluating social programs; and approaches to alleviating poverty and strengthening the safety net.  This meeting will include specific opportunities to feature the work of emerging scholars, including those currently in graduate school or only a few years past completing a degree. Proposals for individual presentations as well as sessions are due August 14, 2015. Click here to learn more.

Call for Abstracts: 8th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health, December 14 -15 2015, in Washington DC. A forum for discussing the science of dissemination and implementation, the 8th Annual Conference aims to grow the research base by bridging the gap between evidence, practice, and policy in health and medicine. Researchers, evaluators and implementers who are interested in identifying opportunities, challenges, and strategies for disseminating the findings and implementation of research to key stakeholders should attend the meeting to discuss, debate, and explore in-depth approaches to advance dissemination and implementation science. The call for abstracts is now open. Submit your research before August 20 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. View areas of focus here. Conference registration will open mid-August.


Conference Calendar   

American Psychological Association Convention: August 6-9, 2015 in Toronto. Registration for the APA 2015 Convention will be opening on April 15. Click here to learn more.

American Sociological Association: August 22-25, 2015 in Chicago. The theme of this 110th annual meeting will be “Sexualities in the Social World,” and registration is set to open on April 30. Click here to learn more.

Social Neuroscience Perspectives on Child Development: September 16-17 2015, Leiden
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in close partnership with the 3rd Annual Flux Congress, is sponsoring a small thematic meeting in The Netherlands on some of the exciting advances in developmental social and affective neuroscience, with a strong emphasis on understanding how social experiences actively shape developing neural systems in children and adolescents. Click here to learn more

Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting: March 31st - April 2nd 2016, Baltimore
Established in the winter of 1984, the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) is a rapidly growing, dynamic society focused on the theoretical, empirical, and policy research issues of adolescence. Through its biennial meetings and publishing efforts, SRA promotes the dissemination of research on adolescents and serves as a network and forum for its members. SRA publishes the Journal of Research on Adolescence. To register, click here

Summer Changes Everything: October 12 - 14, 2015, Baltimore. Summer Changes Everything™, hosted by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), is the only national conference devoted entirely to summer learning. To learn more about this conference and register, click here


Call for Papers: Special Issue of Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions on Substance Use and Violence
Violence and substance abuse are widespread and interrelated problems that affect the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Researchers from social work and other disciplines have documented multiple connections between violence and substance use. Much of the early research focused on violence perpetration and alcohol. More recently scholars examine this relationship for a greater variety of substances (e.g. cocaine, and marijuana), wider forms of violence perpetration and victimization (e.g. intimate partner violence/dating violence, sexual assault, community violence, bullying, human trafficking), and populations (e.g. adolescents, adults, community-based samples, clinical samples). Despite growing attention to intersections among these issues, much remains to be learned. The deadline for submission of 250 word abstracts is July 15, 2015. Manuscripts are due September 15, 2015. Click here to learn more.

IES Webinar: The ERIC Thesaurus – A Key to Finding Education Resources
On July 16, from 2-3 PM ET join the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for a webinar about the ERIC Thesaurus, a critical component of ERIC. It has evolved over the years from a printed publication used in libraries to an online tool that can help everyone find targeted resources in ERIC. This year, ERIC is updating the Thesaurus to add new terms and update existing entries. Find out how the Thesaurus supports ERIC users in their search for education resources. You will also hear about the work that takes place behind the scenes to maintain this large controlled vocabulary of more than 11,000 terms in the field of education. Click here to learn more. 

Request for Comment: Head Start Performance Standards
On June 16, HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the first comprehensive revision to the Head Start performance standards since their publication in 1975. The Head Start performance standards provide the basis for practices and policies in every Head Start program. The revised standards reflect efforts to strengthen Head Start quality, taking into account both best practices and recent research. They also take steps to reduce the number of regulatory standards, eliminating rules that are unnecessary or duplicative. The proposed program standards maintain the focus on the principles of providing comprehensive services, fostering parent engagement, placing a priority on serving the children at greatest need, and respecting diversity. Secretary Burwell’s comments introducing the proposed changes are included in a press release here, and the comments of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood and Interdepartmental Liaison Linda Smith can be viewed hereThe proposed regulations can be viewed in Federal Register here. Guidelines on how to submit comments, including encouragement to provide clear reference to the section and sentences to which comments are responding, can also be found here. Comments can be submitted between Friday, June 19 and Tuesday August 18, 2015. 


Internships, Fellowships, & Job Postings

Postdoctoral Opportunities
NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
The Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) offers Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in two tracks: (i) Broadening Participation (SPRF-BP), and (ii) Interdisciplinary Research in Behavioral and Social Sciences (SPRF-IBSS).  See the full text of the solicitation for detailed description of these tracks.

Other Positions in Academic and Non-Academic Settings
DBASSE Launches Search for New Director of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families.
The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have begun a nationwide search for a Director to lead the activities of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF). BCYF brings a multidisciplinary and evidence-based perspective to bear on the development of policies and programs for children, youth, and families, drawing upon the collective knowledge and analytic tools of the behavioral, health and social sciences. The BCYF Director is responsible for the development, communication, and evaluation of projects under the board, and the ongoing management of BCYF operations. Click here for more information. 

The Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health invites you to apply for a professional track currently available at CSR. Come join the nation’s premier medical research agency, where we are making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives! CSR has a number of Scientific Review Officer (Health Scientist Administrator) vacancies. The salaries for these positions are based upon individual qualifications and professional experience. A full benefits package is available, which includes retirement, Thrift Savings Plan participation, health, life and long-term care insurance. 

As a Health Scientist Administrator (SRO), you are the designated federal official for ensuring grant applications receive an objective and fair initial peer review. You will manage the initial scientific and administrative review of investigator-initiated applications as well as applications for program-initiated funding opportunity announcements; manage the initial scientific and administrative review of these grant applications; and prepare summary statements of review committee findings and recommendations for use by an IC advisory committee.

We are searching for scientists with expertise in biomedical, behavioral and social sciences generally, as well as the following specific specialties within those areas: nursing, health informatics, computational modeling, biostatistics, health services research, health care delivery and methodologies such as community-based participation, population health, health policies, eHealth and big data; liver development, injury and repair, especially hepatobiliary pathophysiology; biology of musculoskeletal system; immunology; endocrinology; and nutrition.

The CSR Scientific Review Officer positions will be accepting applications in the NIH section of from June 25, 2015 – June 29, 2015 for Montgomery County, MD locations. 

DHHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers

Submit to the Newsletter!

We are always accepting Consortium news, resource information, and other relevant material to highlight in the newsletter. The next newsletter will come out in the Fall. 

Please send suggestions and submissions to Sarah Mancoll and Hannah Klein

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