This October, lab members Janie Park and Hannah Swerbenski traveled to Portland, Oregon to present Gray Lab data findings at the Society for the Study of Human Development Conference. The poster they presented, “Mothers’ PTSD and Depression are Associated with Discordant Reporting of her Young Child’s Trauma Exposure”, examined the efficacy of different kinds of assessments that capture preschool-aged children’s Potentially Traumatic Experiences (PTE) by looking at how parental psychopathology may impact reporting of PTE exposure for one’s child. This poster was the result of scholarly teamwork between Janie Park (undergraduate RA), Hannah Swerbenski, B.S., Erin Glacklin, M.S., and Sarah Gray, PhD.
During the last week of June, the Child and Family lab had the honor of hosting a team of researchers and clinicians from the University of Michigan. The Michigan team spent three days training Dr. Gray’s child and family lab members, Tulane School Psychology graduate students, and other community providers in the Mom Power program so that it can be adapted and implemented to serve the New Orleans community.
Mom Power is an evidence-based intervention program that aims to support families who are facing adversity and stress through the challenges of caring for young children. Aligning with the Child and Family lab values, Mom Power is a strength-based, nurturing approach to promoting transgenerational resilience for mothers and children.
The training was incredibly informative and powerful and we are so grateful for the Michigan team for bringing their knowledge to us all in New Orleans! A big thank you to our wonderful trainers: Dr. Kate Rosenblum, PhD, Dr. Maria Muzik, MD, MS, Melisa Schuster MSW, CAADC, and Julie Ribaudo, MSW, ACSW, Infant Mental Health Specialist. We look forward to putting our Mom Power knowledge to action in the coming years.
This June, Joi Bryant and Sarah Guillaume, Child and Family Lab undergraduate research assistants, presented their research posters at the 2019 Louisiana Psychology Association convention. Joi’s poster, “Harsh Parenting among African-American Families: The Carrier of Family and Community Trauma,” examined the associations between maternal history of child sexual abuse, interpersonal violence exposure, community violence, and maternal use of harsh discipline among a predominantly low-income African American sample of 4-5 year olds and their families. Sarah’s Poster, “Racial Socialization of Black Children: The Influences of Child Sex and Maternal Arrest,” examined racial socialization of preschool aged children in the context of maternal arrest. Both of them did a fabulous job and Sarah won best undergraduate poster for original research! Graduate student, Justin Carreras, has previously won this award in the graduate category. We are excited that we can continue to share our research at this conference.
Spring 2019 was bittersweet here at the Gray Lab as we celebrated and then said goodbye to many important and wonderful members of our team!
Congratulations to Peter Balcke, Samantha Perry, Chloe Christian and Zoe Cebulash, our accomplished graduating seniors! Each had an important role in keeping the Child and Family Lab running successfully.
To highlight just some of their accomplishments during their time at Tulane, Zoe graduated with Magna Cum Laude, Chloe Cristian graduated with a successful senior project “Maternal Arrest and Its Implications for Maternal-Child Mental Health,” and Sam Perry graduated Cum Laude as a Newcomb Scholar, successfully defending her Psychology and Neuroscience honors thesis: “The Association Between Maternal Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mother-Child Physiological Synchrony.” Sam also received the Newcomb College Institute Award for Exceptional Character, The Rosa Cahn Hartman Award in Psychology, The Neuroscience Faculty Award, an Oak Wreath Award, and the Newcomb Internship Grant Award.
We are also proud to see Justin Carreras, fifth year doctoral student, heads off to Momentous Institute in Dallas for his internship year.
Lastly, we congratulate our incredibly talented lab manager Hannah Swerbenski as she begins her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Rochester University. You will be missed!
The LAMP Scholars Program, a collaboration between the Louis-Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-LAMP) and Tulane’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT), seeks to increase minority STEM research engagement at Tulane University. Joi Bryant, a Gray lab senior and LAMP Scholar, has been working closely under the advising of Gray Lab graduate student Chloe Pickett on a research project examining childhood sexual abuse among African American mothers.
Joi presented the culmination of her project, a poster entitled “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence: It Harms More than the African American Mother,” at the 13th Annual School of Science and Engineering Research Day.
We are happy to have had the opportunity to share Joi’s wonderful work with the Tulane community!
The Gray Lab was strongly represented at the 2019 Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting. Dr. Gray chaired a paper symposium entitled Early Adversity, Biology, and Behavior: Examining Biological Consequences and Contingencies of Early Life Stress. In this symposium, Dr. Gray presented her paper, “Protective Effects of Parasympathetic Activity in Violence-exposed Preschoolers: Sex-specific Associations with Behavior Problems,” which was co-authored by current graduate students Erin Glackin and Ginny Hatch, and former Tulane Child and Family Lab Research Coordinator Rebecca Lipschutz.
Lab members Justin Carreras, Hannah Swerbenski, Erin Glackin, Ginny Hatch, and Elsa Obus also presented posters at the conference, including “Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Regulation: Mediation through Mothers’ Responses to Children’s Negative Emotionality,” “Emerging Verbal Ability in a Low-Income Sample: Examining Maternal Cognitive Stimulation and Cool Self-Regulation,” and “A Person-Centered Approach to Violence Exposure and Behavioral Outcomes Among Preschoolers.”
Dr. Gray was also honored with the prestigious Early Career Research Contributions Award at the SRCD Member Meeting and Awards Ceremony. More information on Dr. Gray’s Award can be found in our post here.
The Society for Research in Child Development’s Early Career Award Committee selected Dr. Gray to receive the 2019 Early Career Research Contributions Award. This prestigious award honors strongly distinguished researchers and scholars based on their research, publications, and scholarly activities. In particular, Dr. Gray was recognized for using diverse methodologies to understand how contextual factors are associated with mother-child relationships, psychophysiology, and violence exposure in child development and for employing strengths-based and person-centered approaches in studying sensitive parenting and physiological self-regulation in mother-child dyads among vulnerable populations. Dr. Gray was honored at the 2019 SRCD Biennial meeting and received an honorarium for her contributions. More information on 2019 SRCD Biennial Awardees can be found here: https://www.srcd.org/meetings/biennial-meeting/2019-srcd-biennial-awardees
The Tulane Child and Family Lab is happy to announce that Dr. Gray’s new study, A Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Biobehavioral Regulation Among High-Adversity Mothers and Young Children, has been funded by the NIH Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23). This new project will determine whether Mom Power, an evidence-based two generation intervention for mothers, enhances physiological and behavioral self-regulation in mothers and young children, testing mechanisms and examining bidirectional effects. We are so excited to start piloting this project soon!
Gray Lab members are regular attendees at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Meetings. This year, at the 34th annual meeting in Washington DC, Gray Lab PhD students Erin Glackin and Chloe Pickett, as well as undergraduate Research Assistant Chloe Cristian represented the lab at the conference. Glackin presented a symposium entitled “Mothers’ Adverse Childhood Experiences Predict Dysregulated Autonomic Activity in their Preschoolers,” a piece of our ongoing work on physiological stress regulation in mothers and their preschool children. Pickett and Cristian presented their poster “Maternal Attitudes towards Aggression Moderate Associations between Maternal Experiences of Early Adversity and Behavioral Problems in Preschoolers.” We are always very excited for opportunities to share our research, and very proud of Erin, Chloe, and Chloe for their hard work!
Chloe Cristian, a current senior and member of the Tulane Child and Family Lab, has been awarded the Conference Presentation Grant from Newcomb Tulane College. This grant will fund her travel costs to attend the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) Annual Meeting this November in Washington D.C. She will be attending along with Erin Glackin and Chloe Pickett, doctoral students in the Tulane Child and Family Lab. Glackin will be presenting a symposium titled “Mothers’ Adverse Childhood Experiences Predict Dysregulated Autonomic Activity in their Preschoolers,” and Pickett and Cristian will be presenting their poster, “Maternal Attitudes Towards Aggression Moderate Associations Between Maternal Violence Exposure and Behavior Problems in Preschoolers.”
We are proud to have such strong representation at the ISTSS Annual Meeting, and especially proud of Chloe Cristian for earning this special funding opportunity.