Connecting Public Health and Public Schools to Support Students
Laura Hollander is a recent 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 in 2019 to review the literature, interview teachers, and create this topic brief about how public health workers and public schools personnel can apply a developmental perspective and work together to improve academic achievement and promote student health. The brief examines 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.
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)
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.
Infancy and Early Childhood Translational Network: Zero to Thrive
Zero to Thrive is a new initiative, led by Dr. Miller in Public Health and by Dr. Katherine Rosenblum and Dr. Maria Muzik in Psychiatry, that seeks 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 project 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).
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.
Current projects are focused on child lead exposure in housing and other contexts, and understanding how parents obtain information about environmental safety regarding housing. Specifically, the COTC is working with Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan to develop curriculum to train community advocates on educating families about lead exposure. This work is being funded by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR).