Annual Report

Letter From the Director

Dr. Barbara Fiese

I am pleased to introduce the 2016 annual report of the Family Resiliency Center (FRC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This has been a banner year for us in many regards as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our building, Doris Kelley Christopher Hall. For those of you who have not visited our home, it is a welcoming and vibrant space designed to bring faculty, students, and community members together. 

At first glance, it seemed like such a simple vision by our former Department Head Dr. Constance Shapiro, inaugural FRC Director and former Associate Dean Laurie Kramer, and alumna Doris Kelley Christopher—create a warm, inviting space that brings people together. However, academic environments are often noted more for their silos than collaborative atmosphere. The vision of these leaders and the creation of the Food and Family Program ultimately brought these goals to reality. The FRC now has 31 faculty affiliates, extending across 2 campuses, 8 colleges and schools, and 14 disciplines and departments. We are able to fulfill our land-grant mission of integrating research, education, and outreach seamlessly in an all-inclusive space.

Because of our meeting spaces, research home, and state-of-the-art facilities, researchers across campus are eager to form teams to address some of the toughest issues facing our society today, including the prevention of childhood obesity via our STRONG Kids Program, reducing childhood hunger as seen in our work with food banks and out-of-school feeding programs, and reducing children’s exposure to environmental toxins through our work with the Illinois Children’s Environmental Health Center.

Our work extends globally, addressing important issues of health, nutrition, and active living as illustrated by the Abriendo Caminos Program for Spanish-speaking families that includes partnerships in Puerto Rico. The recently launched JUS Media? Programme in Jamaica is another example of our expanding global reach. 

Community engagement is a key activity in Christopher Hall, and we are fortunate to house The Autism Program (TAP), an award-winning program that serves numerous professionals and parents each year. Family members frequently comment on the warm and inviting atmosphere of TAP, which is a stark contrast to the medical waiting rooms they are so accustomed to. You can see them relax as they receive the crucial support they need, which is not available anywhere else in the community. 

Although a decade is a milestone to celebrate, we are just getting started and look forward to the next 10 years of finding innovative and meaningful ways to strengthen families as they face life’s daily challenges. 

—​Dr. Barbara Fiese

Past Annual Reports