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Health and Wellbeing

Physical and behavioral health, as it relates to social-environmental factors and developmental considerations, is a key focus at IHDSC. Using a variety of methods, IHDSC affiliates examine health risks, behaviors, and protective factors that support the well-being of children, youth, and adults. Projects range from buffering the negative effects of toxic stress on child development, studying the connection between nutrition and obesity-related cancer, developing strategies to prevent falls in older adults, and understanding the complexities of mental health in diverse cultural contexts.

Seed Award Spotlight

A headshot of Dr. Stephanie Cook wearing an orange scarf

Optimizing a Daily Mindfulness Intervention to Reduce Stress from Discrimination among Sexual and Gender Minorities of Color

Emerging adult sexual and gender minorities (SGM), especially SGM of color, experience a disproportionate burden of mental health disparities as compared to their older SGM and non-SGM counterparts. Recent research has shown mindfulness interventions as a relevant and promising method through which to reduce the impact of stress and increase well-being in young adults. Given the range of mindfulness interventions and their components, however, this project will work to determine the most effective, efficient, and scalable combination of components to build awareness, purpose, connection, and positive reappraisal among SGM of color.

A headshot of Dr. Sarah Cowan

Reexaming the Link Between Pregnancy Intentions and Early Life Outcomes

Unintended pregnancies are associated with adverse outcomes for both mothers and their infants. This well-known association is the cornerstone of numerous policies, including the contraceptive coverage expansion in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Recent research, however, has questioned whether these relationships are causal or merely that pregnancy intentions are highly correlated with other factors that have a causal effect on maternal and infant well-being such as poverty. This research hinges on finding no statistically significant relationship between pregnancy intentions and outcomes of interest. We are skeptical of these results because this research is limited by small sample sizes, measurement error, and outdated statistical methodology. We propose to reexamine these findings using updated statistical methods and a large, well-established  survey of mothers of newborns which is linked to birth certificate data Additionally, we propose to go beyond previous work by conducting analyses by maternal subgroup.  By linking to 2-year follow-up data from multiple states, we can test whether any effect of pregnancy intentions on newborns or their mothers extends into early childhood.

The IHDSC Seed Award Program

IHDSC is committed to funding new projects that bridge multiple domains of expertise and further the mission of the Institute. Eligible applicants may receive up to $20,000 in research support.

Learn More about the IHDSC Seed Award

For a full list of our affiliates, please visit our Faculty Affiliate Network page.

Projects and Blog Posts

NYU Neuroscience and Education Lab

The Neuroscience and Education Lab (NEL) focuses on the development of self-regulation throughout the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Using a multi-method approach, NEL aims to build a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which early environmental adversity associated with social and economic inequality shapes cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological aspects of development.

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SMART Beginnings

The SMART Beginnings project tests a comprehensive approach to the promotion of school readiness in low-income families.

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Reaching the Rarely Reached: Dr. Njelesani

As part of the "Reaching the Rarely Reached" series, Mackenzie Whipps asked three NYU practitioner-researchers how and why they conduct research with populations that are often forgotten with in the healthcare system. As an occupational therapist, Dr. Janet Njelesani has spent years working with children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries.

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Reaching the Rarely Reached: Dr. Alan Mendelsohn

In the Reaching the Rarely Reached series, Mackenzie Whipps asked three NYU practitioner-researchers how and why they conduct research with populations that are often forgotten with in the healthcare system. Dr. Alan Mendelsohn is developmental pediatrician who has worked as a clinician at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at NYU Langone.

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