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Regional CARE events share findings from 5-year study

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Charles Izzo,   Debbie Sellers,   Frank Kuhn,   Lisa McCabe,   RCCP,   translational research,  

RCCP director Martha Holden addressing attendees

RCCP director Martha Holden addressing attendees

The BCTR’s Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) disseminates model techniques and systems to prevent institutional child abuse and neglect. The RCCP’s CARE Model guides childcare agencies to support safe environments, strong programmatic elements, and a wide-variety of treatment programs and interventions that are trauma-sensitive and developmentally appropriate.

Supported by The Duke Endowment, the RCCP is completing a 5-year multi-site study of the CARE Model by analyzing data and writing papers to disseminate study outcomes. Additionally, the RCCP set up a series of Community of Practice regional events to share the new information with their CARE agencies, allowing agencies and the RCCP to not only learn from the research, but from one another in a collaborative way through discussion and networking.

One such Community of Practice regional event took place on August 12, 2015 at Waterford Country School in Connecticut.  RCCP staff began by providing the context for the research. Specifically, Debbie Sellers (BCTR director of research and evaluation) gave a presentation explaining translational research (TR) and the RCCP approach to TR.  Charlie Izzo (RCCP research associate) described the CARE Theory of Change, which outlines the change processes RCCP facilitates at each agency, and how these relate to the expected measurable outcomes.

Next, RCCP staff summarized the results from three related CARE studies. Charlie Izzo described the results of a study conducted across 11 agencies demonstrating that CARE implementation led to an average decline in three types of behavioral incidents: aggression toward staff, aggression towards peers, and property destruction. Izzo also presented findings from a study across 13 agencies demonstrating that CARE implementation led to a significant improvement in youth reports of the quality of their relationship with agency direct care providers. Finally, Michael Nunno co-presented with representatives from an experienced CARE agency about a study they conducted together. These findings replicated and extended the findings of the Duke study, demonstrating that CARE led not only to fewer behavioral incidents, but also fewer physical restraints and less frequent use of psychotropic medication.

The Connecticut audience was a diverse group, including agency administrators, program managers, and supervisors, as well as board members and those in research/evaluation roles. Of particular interest to attendees was the finding that as relationship quality improved, behavioral incidents decreased.  This information would support, encourage and validate the efforts of front line staff.  

Attendees were actively involved throughout the day in helping to clarify the interpretation and practical significance of the findings, and proposing future research directions that would help inform their efforts to implement CARE and better meet the needs of children and families. For example, during a discussion about their unique roles in implementing CARE, clinicians realized that they are a natural group to educate agency direct care staff about applying CARE principles in their daily work.  RCCP staff is incorporating this clinician input into a tool in development that measures implementation quality across agency sectors.  Agency clinicians also stimulated discussion about developing a tool to specifically assess practices that clinicians use to strengthen CARE implementation and sustainability over time.

The day ended with a series of interactive small-group discussions about the essential elements within the CARE implementation process led by Lisa McCabe and Frank Kuhn that were most likely to lead to positive outcomes and long-term sustainability. The ideas generated through these discussions not only helped the CARE team refine its implementation processes, but also pointed the way toward several promising research questions.

William Martin, executive director for Waterford was particularly pleased with the opportunities that this event provided for his staff, “I want to say that being asked to host this event provided an opportunity for my staff that they never could have gotten any other way,” and that RCCP “continues to do things that change our lives here at Waterford Country School and I could not be more appreciative.”

Two additional Community of Practice regional events were held on May 20, 2015 in Statesville, NC and on October 15, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Charles Izzo    Debbie Sellers    Frank Kuhn    Lisa McCabe    RCCP    translational research   

New USDA-funded nutrition center with BCTR ties

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Debbie Sellers,   Jennifer Tiffany,   media mention,   nutrition,  

CCE nutrition demo at an NYC farmer's market (file photo)

CCE nutrition demo at an NYC farmer's market (file photo)

A new federally-funded Cornell center will study how simple changes to schools, communities, and workplaces could help people live healthier and boost the success of long-running nutrition education programs for low-income families. The center will be led by Jamie Dollahite, professor of nutritional sciences.

The Northeast Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence, based in Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences and funded by a two-year, $856,250 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Service, unites multidisciplinary researchers, extension leaders and community partners to address socio-ecological factors contributing to obesity. One of five sites established by a $4 million USDA grant, Cornell’s center is a hub for 12 states, from Maine to Virginia, coordinating research and testing interventions primarily through the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

In addition to carrying out this signature research program, the center will issue sub-awards for projects in the Northeast to test community-based interventions and build a network for disseminating findings to the public and throughout the extension system.

Dollahite noted that the center will also focus on building evidence for the effectiveness of programs serving low-income populations. In 2013 nutrition education programs delivered through Cornell Cooperative Extension reached more than 175,000 under-served families across New York.

Cornell won the USDA funding in a competitive grant process carried out last summer. Dollahite believes the university succeeded thanks to “strong existing research and extension programs” and a “diverse team of researchers representing nutrition, health economics, behavioral economics, health communications, and community-based nutrition education.”

“Our steering and advisory committees include nationally recognized experts from Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Tufts and other top institutions, including all of the land-grant institutions in our region,” she added.

Jennifer Tiffany

Jennifer Tiffany

In support of these goals, Jennifer Tiffany (BCTR director of outreach and community engagement) will serve on the  research advisory committee, guiding the project's steering committee and helping identify gaps in the evidence base and proposing methods for pursuing projects designed to fill these gap. This work will draw on Tiffany's extensive experience in community-based health education and research and be supported by her connections throughout the university. In addition to her position in the BCTR, she serves as associate director of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), associate director for outreach and extension within the College of Human Ecology, and executive director of CCE’s NYC Programs.

Debbie Sellers

Debbie Sellers

The BCTR's director of research and evaluation Debbie Sellers will serve as the evaluation specialist for the project and will be a member of the steering committee.

The new center promises to increase collaboration between researchers and practitioners across the region. It will contribute to national obesity prevention efforts, and provide new opportunities to remedy gaps in the evidence-base.


USDA designates Cornell as obesity prevention hub - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Debbie Sellers    Jennifer Tiffany    media mention    nutrition   

Advanced Research Navigator Workshop held for CCE Educators

(0) Comments  |   Tags: CCE,   Debbie Sellers,   Jennifer Tiffany,   John Eckenrode,   Karl Pillemer,   Research Navigator,  

On April 25-26, eighteen Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators and executive directors attended an advanced Research Navigator Workshop at Cornell. The workshop was planned and facilitated by Karl Pillemer and Jennifer Tiffany.

Karl Pillemer and Anthony Burrow

College of Human Ecology faculty – Jane Mendle, Valerie Reyna, Nancy Wells, Tony Burrow, Gary Evans, and Rebecca Seguin – met with the group to present their “intellectual autobiographies” as researchers, describe current and future research projects, and work with the CCE educators to plan potential partnerships. The BCTR's John Eckenrode (director) and Debbie Sellers (director of research and evaluation) introduced the group to the center’s mission and resources.

Presentations on “Considering Collaboration” by Karl Pillemer and Jennifer Tiffany addressed the different perspectives and “cultures” of practitioners and researchers, how these inform the development of mutually beneficial collaborations, and strategies for growing campus-CCE research partnerships. Another component of the workshop was a networking dinner where participants and faculty members met and talked casually, strengthening the informal relationships that often provide the foundation for ongoing research partnerships.

Angela Northern and Patty Hammond of CCE

CCE educators from all regions of the state (Suffolk County, NYC, the North Country, the Southern Tier, Central New York, and Western New York) attended the workshop, indicating the diversity of interests and demographic constellations in their home communities.

The Research Navigator Initiative, a BCTR project and a core element of the College of Human Ecology’s extension and outreach effort, introduces CCE educators to diverse research methodologies, recruitment and retention strategies, and content areas, as it informs CHE faculty about the resources and capabilities of CCE as a research partner and broker of community collaborations. All of the participants in the April 2013 advanced workshop had previously completed two-day basic workshops. The Research Navigator Initiative also regularly offers webinars to its participants, and maintains on-line resource materials.

For more information on the Research Navigator Initiative, contact Karl Pillemer or Jennifer Tiffany.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: CCE    Debbie Sellers    Jennifer Tiffany    John Eckenrode    Karl Pillemer    Research Navigator   

Debbie Sellers joins the BCTR as Director of Research and Evaluation

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The BCTR is very happy to welcome Debbie Sellers as the center’s new Director of Research and Evaluation. Debbie received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1992 and an M.S. in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1993. Formerly, Debbie was Director of Research and Development for the Center for Applied Ethics, Division of Health and Human Development at the Education Development Center, Inc. in Waltham, MA. As the BCTR’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Debbie will help the center develop our research infrastructure and consult with center projects, while also pursuing an independent program of research. She will work closely with BCTR director John Eckenrode and will serve as a member of the BCTR executive committee. Debbie will contribute to the growth and development of the research and evaluation capacities of the center; provide research and evaluation consultation to projects within the BCTR; collaborate with BCTR senior staff and affiliates on research proposal development; support training and professional development of center staff; and provide support and consultation to center partners and affiliates.

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