• 2024-05-29 - On the evening of April 8, 2024, Colleen Gibbons stepped up to the front of a crowded banquet hall to receive the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Alumni Award of Merit, which is presented to ACES alums with a record of outstanding personal and professional accomplishments and who made extraordinary humanitarian contributions. Gibbons was being honored for a life and career dedicated to reforming the criminal legal system to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. As a senior project manager at the Center...
  • 2024-05-23 - For agencies in Champaign County that implement programs for individuals with developmental disabilities or mental health concerns, there is no shortage of pressing issues that warrant immediate attention. But how can these agencies best allocate their time and resources to project the greatest benefit? How can agencies assess their reach and effect of services on participant outcomes? These questions are ones that the Family Resiliency Center (FRC) has been studying over the past year and are the subject of their year-one annual report to the Champaign County Developmental Disability and...
  • 2024-05-20 - This year’s International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) featured research from the Family Resiliency Center across five—count ‘em, five!—oral presentations. Hosted at the University of Illinois from Wednesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 18, 2024, the 20th meeting of ICQI focused on how qualitative researchers can intervene and affect change in everyday life given such evolving conditions as political and economic strife, intensifying effects of climate change and the ravages of poverty and war. Scholars from around the world flocked to Illinois to celebrate community, experiment...
  • 2024-05-13 - During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologists tracked the evolution of the virus by sequencing the genome of wastewater samples, allowing public health departments to forecast disease transmission. Subsequent years have seen the continuation of this approach, as health departments use genomic sequencing to gather data on numerous pathogens. However, a major hurdle remains for those who track disease evolution through genomic sequencing: input from and application by public health professionals and healthcare clinicians. The Midwest Alliance for Applied Genomic Epidemiology (...
  • 2024-04-26 -   For the six high school students who presented at the University of Illinois’ Undergraduate Research Symposium, it was all about that “a-ha!” moment. “We noticed a connection between crime and poverty in our community, and we thought it would be a good idea to talk about that problem and to dig into it with research,” said Mariya McCullough, a student at Kenneth D. Bailey Academy in Danville, Ill. “And not everybody has the answers,” added classmate Ariel Gosser. “When we asked questions about crime and poverty, it was hard for interviewees to answer those.” On Thursday, April 25,...
  • 2024-04-26 -   What does it take to break a cycle of generational poverty? This difficult question provides daily motivation for Lisa Sheltra, director of community engagement at Salt & Light, a ministry with storefronts in Champaign and Urbana. From a spiritual perspective, Sheltra explains, generational poverty is a whole-person experience. “Many people living in situations of financial need require not just material goods or services but also power and control over their own situation,” said Sheltra. “This represents an enormous shift in thinking...
  • 2024-04-12 - A team of researchers is calling for comprehensive changes to U.S. health care and social policies to improve diagnosis and treatment of perinatal mental health conditions and mitigate the dramatic disparities that put women of color at significantly greater risks of morbidity and mortality compared with white women. In a commentary published in the journal Health Affairs, the researchers proposed seven comprehensive changes to health care and economic policies to mitigate the burden of undiagnosed and untreated perinatal mental health challenges that are greatest among racial minority...
  • 2024-03-25 - Mental health struggles, body image issues, incidents of bullying—these are just some of the topics that groups of high school students in Champaign-Urbana and Danville, Ill., are currently exploring as their collective research interest. As early as next week, each group will select one topic and then, with adult guidance, create solutions for their chosen problem and draft policy applications. This process is known as youth participatory action research, or YPAR, which positions young people as co-researchers alongside adults like teachers, health educators, church elders or out-of-school...
  • 2024-03-25 -   Central to youth development programs is “spark,” a term that describes the process of enkindling a self-discovered skill, talent or interest that may lead to fulfillment or a greater sense of purpose. According to a common model of 4-H youth development, “spark” can put young people on the path to thriving. Amy Leman, an assistant professor in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Program (ALEC) and Collaboratory member at the Family Resiliency Center (FRC), wants to...
  • 2024-03-12 - Early childhood is an important time for learning about nutrition and establishing healthy eating behaviors. Young children rely on parents to provide food options, and the availability of food in the home affects their dietary choices. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign looks at...
  • 2024-02-20 - As an undergraduate at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Allen Barton majored in civil engineering. Then, as he pursued his master’s in engineering at Illinois, Barton was exposed to research in social and family psychology. Suddenly his focus shifted from physical materials and sturdy structures to mental states and interiority. “I was investigating what makes engineers tick, and then I realized—wait, I can actually do this research in families,” said Barton, an assistant professor and Extension specialist in human...
  • 2024-02-13 - The Family Resiliency Center (FRC) and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invite applications for a Visiting Senior Research Scientist. We strive to Make Thriving the Norm for families, children, youth, and communities. We seek a promising or established academic professional team member committed to the vision, mission, and strategic plan of the Center with a passion for community-based participatory research, translation...
  • 2023-10-20 - The Autism Program (TAP) and the Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (INI) have been busy! On Monday, October 16, we attended the 2023 UIUC Mental Health Fair where we interacted with students and faculty from across the campus. Many were interested in the TAP internship and several were given information about classes that will be offered next semester for neurodivergent UIUC students.  October 17-20, Jeanne Kramer, Director of TAP/INI attended the College Autism Summit (CAS) in Nashville Tennessee.  On Tuesday the 17th, UConn hosted a Neurodiversity Employment Symposium and INI was invited...
  • 2023-09-26 - URBANA, Ill. – Educational programs that promote mental and physical health can help young people – particularly in environments of chronic stress and trauma exposure – learn healthy coping strategies, avoid risky behaviors, and succeed in school. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign shows that a school-based mindfulness program is beneficial for Black high school students in urban communities. “These are low cost, highly scalable, and highly sustainable...
  • 2023-07-31 - URBANA, Ill. — Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an approach that connects academic researchers with community partners to inform project development. Where traditional research is often done “to” people, treating them as subjects with no agency, CBPR is a cooperative process incorporating the knowledge and direction of community members. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators explores CBPR implementation in a project on criminal...