Infancy and Early Childhood Translational Network: Zero to Thrive
Zero to Thrive is an initiative that seeks to promote the health and resilience of families from pregnancy through early childhood through research, education, partnership, and service. Dr. Miller is Steering Committee Chair of the Zero to Thrive Translational Network, which seeks to bring together individuals from units across the University of Michigan (Public Health, Psychiatry, Nursing, Social Work, Education, Public Policy, Law School, Pediatrics) who are conducting translational research and/or practice focused on pregnancy, infancy, and/or early childhood. This is a collaborative initiative led by Dr. Miller in Public Health and by Dr. Katherine Rosenblum and Dr. Maria Muzik in Psychiatry, with the goal of focusing efforts of both university and community stakeholders to connect systems of care and enhance positive health outcomes and promote well-being for young children in the State of Michigan who are facing early life stress and adversity (e.g., growing up in poverty; facing trauma).
The University of Michigan School of Public Health created and shared educational resources about coronavirus with families and educators. These family-oriented resources aim to support parents and children in learning more about the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Alison Miller, along with other faculty from the School of Public Health, also had a conversation with the President of the University of Michigan regarding the impact of coronavirus response efforts. Additionally, Dr. Miller was interviewed on Michigan Radio’s Stateside episode Staying Afloat During the Mental Health Challenges of COVID-19 and the Population Healthy podcast How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus.
To further support current study participants, the AIMS-T1D study team created a coronavirus tip sheet to provide resources and information about coping with the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus tip sheet was distributed to parents enrolled in the AIMS Parents study.
Connecting Public Health and Public Schools to Support Students
Laura Hollander is a 2019 graduate from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and holds a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Behavior and Health Education. She is based in New York City. She worked with Dr. Miller to review the literature, interview teachers, and create a topic brief entitled “Bridging the Gap: Connecting Public Health and Public Schools to Support Students”. The brief reviews how public health workers and public school personnel can apply a developmental perspective and work together to improve academic achievement and promote student health, and highlights middle schools as an important pressure point in students’ health and development. Drawing on stage-environment-fit and developmental readiness theories, the brief suggests that students’ health and academic achievement can be determined by how supported and empowered students feel in school, and proposes a few realistic measures that schools can adopt in order to improve students’ academic achievement and health. Laura also wrote about her findings in this blog post for The Pursuit.
The Lead 101 Program
The Lead 101 program was developed by the University of Michigan Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center in partnership with the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan to mitigate child lead exposure. The program trained Grand Rapids community volunteers to become peer educators and deliver the program to Grand Rapids families during an in-home visit. The Lead 101 program shared information about lead poisoning, lead screening, potential sources of lead in the home, and methods to mitigate lead exposure. The pilot program is currently being evaluated to assess the impact of the program. This work is being funded by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR)-( 2UL1TR000443)
With MCubed funding we have expanded this project to develop reflective supervision supports for Healthy Homes Coalition staff and peer educators to conduct their work with families and to expand our evaluation activities. This work is conducted in collaboration with Simone Charles in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health and Julie Ribaudo at the School of Social Work. (MCUBED ID: Parenting and Lead Mitigation at Home: Community-Based Education for Parents of Young Children)
Research and Policy Perspectives on Separating (and Reconnecting) Children and Parents: Implications for Families on the Border
This report summarizes a Rapid Response Talk and panel discussion on implications of family separation for the development of young children, co-sponsored by the Zero to Thrive Initiative and the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan on 7/11/18. Faculty experts from different fields reviewed research evidence on the science of early childhood development, stress and trauma, and policy implications of family separation and reunions for very young children. This report highlights policy implications and provides links to papers and resources. A social media toolkit is also provided with graphics and sample posts. Hurley Riley wrote about this project in a blog post for The Pursuit.
Children’s Environmental Health: Community Outreach
Dr. Miller is the Director of the Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at the University of Michigan. The goal of the COTC is to connect with community organizations that focus on children and environmental health and to promote projects that translate environmental health science findings from research to application. Much of this work is based in Grand Rapids. Projects have included an asthma mapping project that used data from Head Start to indicate regions of the city of Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan with high numbers of preschool-aged children with asthma.
This project was in collaboration with the Asthma Network of West Michigan, the Kent County Head Start Program, Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, the Kent County Health Department, and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. The COTC has also helped to develop an environmental health asset map for Kent County for community organizations focused on children and environmental health, and the Lead 101 program in collaboration with Health Homes.