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  1. Dr. Charles Zeanah comments on the conditions of Romanian orphanages in the early 2000's when the Bucharest Early Intervention Project began. Dr. Zeanah and researchers at Harvard and the University of Maryland are studying the outcomes of institutionalized children who were placed in foster homes by researchers early on in their lives to children who remained in institutional care. They are beginning the seventh round of follow-up as the children are turning 21.
  2. The VPI has won a grant from the Pincus Family Foundation to create a Violence Prevention Scholarship which connects graduate students with VPI faculty and community partners! This interdisciplinary program will be based in the Master's of Public Health program, but will integrate faculty from across all schools at Tulane, particularly the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. Scholars will be immersed in an innovative new training initiative focused on building skills to effectively integrate with community organizations and co-develop programs designed to mitigate the effects of violence and, in the long-term, prevent the intergenerational transmission of violence and its health impacts. The initiative will focus on the lives of children throughout New Orleans, with an emphasis on Central City, and places throughout the city where children are most affected by violence.
  3. Dr. Sarah Gray will study the effectiveness of Mom Power, an existing evidence-based intervention that aims to mitigate the negative impacts of trauma on physical and mental health across generations. This four-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will bring the family-focused project to two New Orleans area Head Start centers - Educare and Kingsley House. Gray and her team will collaborate with two VPI faculty, Dr. Stacy Drury and Dr. Charles Zeanah.
  4. Dr. Sarah Gray, an assistant professor of psychology at Tulane University, is one of five recipients of a prestigious Early Career Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Dr. Gray studies mental health and physiological consequences of exposure to early life stress and trauma, especially in underserved children and their caregivers.
  5. In her cross-disciplinary Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory (BANGL), Dr. Stacy Drury and her colleagues study the relationship between childhood experiences and genetic and epigenetic factors, striving to understand how this shapes a child’s long-term development and health.
  6. Dr. Stacey Gage received $4.8M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to direct the implementation of Momentum, a project to provide nursing students training in how to counsel first-time parents aged 15 to 24 on family planning, birth preparedness, newborn care, and gender-equitable attitudes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to Gage, this initiative is important because health outcomes for both new mothers and babies in the DRC are poor as compared to other countries. If Momentum proves successful, it could be implemented in nursing schools across the DRC.
  7. The spring, Tulane launched its new Violence Prevention Institute to bring together experts from across campus. Researchers with the Violence Prevention Institute are collaborating across disciplines to understand the causes of violence and how we can best prevent various forms of violence from child maltreatment to intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
  8. Dr. Catherine Burnette, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Tulane University, says that people generally respond to divorce and their own conflict resolution skills in one of two ways. “They either model their parent’s conflict resolution styles, or they become self-aware and intentional about how they want to navigate conflict in their own relationships,” Burnette says. And sometimes, it’s a mixture of the two. In other words, having divorced parents may enhance a person’s ability to be a judge of character, recognize red flags and choose healthy partners.
  9. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and Louisiana consistently ranks among the top states for rates of death among pregnant and postpartum women. Dr. Maeve Wallace studies pregnancy-associated mortality and the state-level policies that could be contributing to the higher rates seen in Louisiana and the U.S. more broadly. Wallace and her team will also look at how factors including income inequality, structural racism and residential segregation play a role in the increased mortality rate among black women, who are currently three to four times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or post-partum periods.
  10. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which represents 64,000 pediatricians, released an updated policy statement that “corporal punishment and harsh verbal abuse may cause a child to be fearful in the short term but does not improve behavior over the long term.” Dr. Cathy Taylor supports this policy and adds, “The goal of discipline is to teach, guide, educate, and reinforce good behavior.” Even further, Dr. Taylor conducted a recent study that found that even indirect exposure to violence during childhood can play a key role in the child developing anti-social and aggressive behavior. Positive parenting strategies can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
  11. Can cleaning vacant lots cause a chain of events that curbs child abuse or stops a teen from falling victim to violence? That’s the provocative question behind a new Tulane University research project to study whether maintaining vacant lots and fixing up blighted properties in high-crime areas reduces incidents of youth and family violence. The National Institutes of Health awarded Tulane a $2.3 million grant to test the theory in New Orleans.
  12. Tulane researcher Dr. Katherine Theall was just awarded a $2.3 million grant from the NIH for a first-of-its-kind study. The study seeks to learn if cleaning up overgrown, vacant lots and blighted houses can decrease youth and family violence. “To our knowledge, no other studies have examined the impact of blight remediation on youth and family violence, specifically,” said principal investigator Katherine Theall, PhD, Cecile Usdin Professor in Women’s Health. “However, research on other forms of neighborhood disorder suggest that it could have a substantial impact.”
  13. Tulane researchers conduct 4-year study, "Safe Schools NOLA," on trauma-informed approaches across 5 schools in New Orleans. These approaches include training for teachers to recognize signs of trauma, finding ways to make children feel safe, teaching coping skills and eliminating harsh discipline policies. The Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies, a key community partner for many Tulane researchers, surveyed New Orleans youth over the past several years to learn how deep the mental health issues are stemming from untreated trauma.
  14. Officials defend immigration-related detention facilities in Texas saying that shelters provide nutrition, hygiene and medical care. This isn’t enough. Children need consistent and individualized care from loving adults. Deprived of these experiences, a young child’s development is derailed.
  15. Researchers have found the amount of violence in a neighborhood can directly impact a child biologically, so much so, that the rate of violence directly correlates to the length of telomeres at the end of a child’s chromosomes. “We have evidence that there are changes in the actual DNA in the cells within each child. We have evidence that it changes how children's stress response systems work,” said Stacy Drury, the Associate Director of the Tulane Brain Institute.
  16. In a recent national survey, Dr. Cathy Taylor found that three out of four pediatricians don’t approve of hitting children for corrective purposes, often referred to as spanking. The study also found that most pediatricians think spanking seldom or never results in positive outcomes for kids. Taylor says, “Pediatricians are among the most trusted sources of credible advice that parents go to. If pediatricians feel empowered more to speak up about this issue and talk to parents about it, we could start to see parents’ attitudes and behaviors shifting as well.”
  17. Dr. Cathy Taylor led a research team that surveyed pediatricians around the country and found 75% of children’s doctors don’t think spanking is an effective form of discipline and could do more harm than good.
  18. Growing up in an environment plagued by high rates of gun violence can affect someone for the rest of his or her life, according to public-health experts. In the 1990s, the CDC and Kaiser Permanente partnered on a landmark study of more than 17,000 individuals, looking at the connection between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and children's long-term health. The more ACEs someone has—the higher their ACE score—the higher their risk of depression, drug use, and such health problems as diabetes and heart attacks, which disproportionately impact communities of color.
  19. Forensic psychiatrists Dr. J. Brad McConville and Dr. Sarah DeLand of Tulane University told Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman they believed Thornton was in the grip of a psychotic episode and exempt from criminal responsibility on the day she admitted killing her children Kendall and Kelsey Adams.
  20. Tulane University forensic psychiatrists Dr. J. Brad McConville and Dr. Sarah Deland interviewed Thornton just days after she drowned her 4-year-old daughter and fatally shot her 3-year-old son. Both McConville and Deland testified Thornton was experiencing a depression-fueled psychotic episode on the day of the killings, and could not distinguish between right and wrong.