Research, Outreach, & Translation

Our lab engages in many different research projects. Read about our current work and collaborations below. Click here to learn about our completed projects.

Zero To Thrive Translational Network

Zero to Thrive is an initiative that seeks to promote family health and resilience from pregnancy through early childhood through research, education, partnership, and service. Goals are to engage 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). Dr. Miller is Steering Committee Chair of the Zero to Thrive Translational Network, which brings together individuals across the University of Michigan (Public Health, Psychiatry, Nursing, Social Work, Education, Public Policy, Law School, Pediatrics, OB/GYN) who conduct translational work focused on pregnancy, infancy, and/or early childhood. Zero to Thrive Psychiatry leads are Dr. Katherine Rosenblum and Dr. Maria Muzik.

To learn more, see our paper on Relational Health in the Child-Serving Ecosystem and work from the lab featured on the UM SPH blog the Pursuit.  Click here to explore Rapid Response Talks sponsored by the Zero to Thrive Translational Network.

Screening for Social Determinants of Health

This study sought to better understand screening processes for social determinants of health (SDOH) in pediatric healthcare settings. We conducted interviews with pediatric providers in Michigan and California to gain insights from their perspectives on SDOH screening, potential barriers to screening, and how SDOH knowledge is integrated into patient care. We conducted chart reviews to evaluate family uptake of services after SDOH screening. The overall goal of this research is to fill knowledge gaps and address barriers within current screening practices such that more streamlined, research-based policies and practices can be introduced to achieve the maximum benefit from SDOH screening. We also plan to investigate how SDOH screening relates to child health outcomes such as obesity. This research was funded by UM’s Childhood Obesity Research Core (P30 DK08950).The SDOH study team includes Dr. Rebeccah Sokol, UM School of Social Work, Dr. Layla Mohammed, UM Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Sara Stein, UM School of Public Health.

To learn more, see our papers on Provider Perspectives and When Families Do Not Request Help and work from the lab featured on the UM SPH blog the Pursuit

A Place-Based Approach to Healthy Ypsi

Driven by racism and historical disinvestment, families living in Ypsilanti, Michigan have been disproportionately impacted by negative social determinants of health (SDOH), such as poverty, food insecurity, and limited housing options. Through a partnership with the Ypsilanti Health Center (YHC) and funding from the SPH IDEAS Healthy and Equitable Cities Initiative, the Healthy Ypsi project hopes to generate best practices for connecting families to care in the context of urban pediatric medical homes, based on the idea that healthy cities shape healthy families.

We seek to 1) identify the most pressing social needs and barriers to child and family wellbeing in Ypsilanti, 2) map community resources and assess clinic- and community-based provider viewpoints on facilitating family connections to care, 3) identify data sources to assess child and family needs, and 4) work with YHC staff to support integration of social needs screening into clinic workflows. In addition to Dr. Miller, the Healthy Ypsi team includes Dr. Jenny RadeskyDr. Lauren O’Connell, and Dr. Layla Mohammed from UM Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Sara Stein and Dr. Olivia Halabicky from UM School of Public Health and Dr. Rebeccah Sokol from UM School of Social Work.

Trauma-Informed Programs and Practices in Schools (TIPPS)

TIPPS is a project based in the School of Social Work that translates research and shares strategies to help schools buffer the impacts of child exposures to adverse and traumatic events. TIPPS uses a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to co-developing, refining, and scaling a flexible curriculum to support implementation of trauma-informed programs and practices in schools throughout the state of Michigan. The 10 TIPPS pillars are based in research on adversity and resilience. The TIPPS framework seeks to address concerns about the ubiquitous nature of trauma and its impacts on children by helping to create safe, nurturing, and inclusive learning environments for all students, and by applying transformative strategies that strengthen relationships, provide opportunities for children to learn skills for resilience and positive coping and reducing experiences that “re-traumatize” children whose prior experiences place them at risk for health and mental health problems. This research is funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The TIPPS study team includes Dr. Todd Herrenkohl (PI, UM School of Social Work), and Co-Investigators Dr. Alison Miller, Dr. Andria Eisman, and Dr. Elizabeth Davis.

To learn more, check out the video on TIPPS:

Trauma-Informed Programs and Practices in Schools – Early Childhood Settings (TIPPS-EC)

TIPPS-EC seeks to support Early Childhood (EC) professionals as essential partners in mitigating the negative impacts of exposure(s) to chronic stress and trauma on early childhood development. EC settings and EC educators play a vital role in shaping the health and well-being of young children, yet are overburdened and lack trauma-informed professional development opportunities. Building on our extant TIPPS work, the goal of TIPPS-EC is to develop and deliver workshops for Detroit-based EC community partners who have requested such training, focusing on using systemic approaches to mitigate the impacts of trauma exposure for young children. TIPPS-EC is funded by Engage Detroit Workshops and is led by Dr. Miller, Dr. Todd Herrenkohl, and Dr. Daicia Price in the School of Social Work, in partnership with the Detroit-based Development Centers.

Child Environmental Health: Parenting and Lead Mitigation At Home

In partnership with the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan we developed Lead 101, a peer-delivered program to mitigate child lead exposure at home. Lead 101 shared information about lead poisoning, lead screening, potential sources of lead in the home, and methods to mitigate lead exposure. This work was funded by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), 2UL1TR000443. 

We expanded on Lead 101 in the project Parenting and Lead Mitigation at Home: Community-Based Education for Parents of Young Children. This work was funded through UM’s MCUBED initiative and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Simone Charles in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UM School of Public Health and Dr. Julie Ribaudo at UM School of Social Work. .

To learn more, see our papers on Parenting and Lead Mitigation at Home and Environmental Contaminants and Child Development and work from the lab featured on the UM SPH blog the Pursuit.  This work was also featured by NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health.

AIMS Parents and AIMS Kids

AIMS Parents and AIMS Kids are observational studies funded through the NIH Common Fund/Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/Science of Behavior Change Initiative and NICHD (UH3HD087979-04S1). 

In AIMS Parents we are examining associations between parents’ self-regulation (SR), youth management of type 1 diabetes (T1D), family processes known to support youth T1D treatment regimen adherence and glycemic control, and youth T1D-related outcomes among Michigan-based parents/legal guardians of youth ages 11-17 years old who have T1D. In a separate study, Tackling T1D Together (K. Bauer, PI), we are gathering parents’ input regarding how their SR may impact their capacity to support their child in managing T1D. In AIMS Kids, we are examining these associations in a national sample of parents/legal guardians of youth ages 5-9 years old who have T1D. The AIMS Parents and AIMS Kids teams include Dr. Emily Fredericks, UM Department of Pediatrics, (Multiple PI with Dr. Miller), Kate Bauer, UM School of Public Health, Joyce Lee, Dana Albright, Niko Kaciroti, UM Department of Pediatrics, and Marisa Hilliard, Baylor College of Medicine.

To learn more, see our papers on Parent SR and Youth T1D and SR as a Protective Factor for Youth with T1D During COVID-19 Pandemic.

Adolescent Interventions to Manage Self-Regulation of T1D (AIMS T1D)

AIMS T1D is a clinical trial (NCT03688919) funded through the NIH Common Fund/Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/Science of Behavior Change Initiative and NICHD (UH3HD087979). The goal of AIMS T1D is to test self-regulation-focused interventions among adolescents ages 13-17 years old with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Self-regulation skills include Executive Function (EF), Emotion Regulation (ER) and Future Orientation (FO). T1D-related outcomes include medical regimen adherence and HbA1c. The AIMS T1D team includes Dr. Emily Fredericks, UM Department of Pediatrics, (Multiple PI with Dr. Miller), Joyce Lee and Dana Albright, UM Department of Pediatrics, and Niko Kaciroti, UM Department of Pediatrics.

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. To learn more, please read the AIMS Newsletter.

ABC Brain Games

ABC Brain Games was a clinical trial examining the impact of self-regulation-focused interventions on child eating behavior among children who were growing up in poverty. Childhood obesity is a critical and ongoing public health problem, with almost 25% of children overweight by age 4 years and 35% by adolescence. Once established, childhood obesity is difficult to treat and tracks into adulthood. Unfortunately obesity prevention and treatment programs focused on diet and physical activity have had limited efficacy. ABC Brain Games and related work examined whether one reason for this may be limited attention to basic mechanisms of health behavior change in children, and tested different aspects of self-regulation as an example of one such process. This research is a collaboration with Dr. Julie Lumeng, Dr. Ashley Gearhardt, Dr Emily Fredericks and Dr. Rich Gonzales and was funded through the NIH Common Fund/Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/Science of Behavior Change Initiative and NICHD (UH2HD087979).

To learn more, see our papers on Targeting Self-Regulation to Promote Health Behaviors in Children and Developmentally Informed Behavior Change Techniques to Enhance Self-Regulation in a Health Promotion Context.

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