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Student Profiles: Spring 2013




0163_12_049.jpgChristine Heib

During her three years as an undergraduate research assistant in the BCTR, Christine was involved in many different projects advancing positive youth development. The majority of her time was spent as a research assistant with ACT for Youth, through which she focused on preconception health research and messaging for youth, and evaluating the scope of youth homelessness in Tompkins County through a participatory action research project. She worked collecting focus group data, developing data management systems and qualitative coding structures, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, generating report syntheses, posters, and presentations, and sharing findings with community members and stakeholders.

Since graduating from Cornell in May of 2012, Christine has stayed in Ithaca to work full time with the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence at the BCTR. She is now part of their Evaluation Team, evaluating the implementation of evidence-based programs for teen pregnancy prevention as part of the New York State Department of Health’s Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. As such, she is part of a staff working to advance evidence-based practices, while learning the realities of field-implementation from practitioners.

After pursing further graduate work, Christine hopes to take the values and framework of translational research, which is so integral to the work of the BCTR, to the field of Public Health practice. Through bridging scientific research and community practice, she would ultimately like to improve maternal and child health practices, specifically prenatal and postpartum health care, awareness, and education.

Catherine Riffin
Graduate Student
Human Development

Catherine’s primary line of research at the BCTR concerns the impact of chronic pain on family relationships. As a member of Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL), she works under the direction of Drs. Karl Pillemer and Cary Reid in examining how older parents’ chronic pain has implications for their adult children’s psychological well-being. She is also currently involved in a project concerning research priorities in the field of palliative care (PIs: Karl Pillemer, PhD and Cary Reid, MD).

Catherine is currently a third year doctoral student in Human Development. Upon completing her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 2008, she pursued pediatric anxiety research at Brown Medical School. While at Brown, she developed a strong interest in exploring how the early years of development serve as the foundation for subsequent trajectories, and how family relationships foster salubrious outcomes in later life. In particular, she studied between- and within-family differences in coping with childhood anxiety and related disorders. At Cornell, she has continued to investigate intergenerational relationships with a focus on adult interactions by applying the dyadic mechanisms present in the formative years of life to parent-child relationships in adulthood. Her research now concerns both the relational and psychological components of providing care to an older parent in pain.

Catherine recently completed her master’s thesis, which focused on the association between care recipient personality and caregiver health. Her hope is that this work will have direct clinical implications for family involvement in the treatment and care of older adults. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Catherine hopes to obtain a post-doctoral position in a research institution or faculty position in an academic setting. Her goal is to merge research and practice within the context of her work on chronic pain and family caregiving.

Catherine enjoys being in the great outdoors, swimming in the ocean (or any body of water!) and spending time with friends and family.