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Family Resiliency Center September 2017 Newsletter
Dr. Sharon Donovan Receives New NIH Grant

Dr. Sharon Donovan is awarded a new $2.7M grant from National Institutes of Health to investigate the relationship between infants fed a combination of breast milk and formula and their risk for obesity. 

The research team will be utilizing the STRONG Kids 2 prospective birth cohort that is studying the unique insights into how individual biology interacts with the family environment to promote healthy eating habits in young children.

New Baby Delivery Delivers Mile Marker To STRONG Kids 2

The Family Resiliency Center’s STRONG Kids 2 program receives a special delivery as the final STRONG Kids 2 baby arrives. The 451st baby was born the first week of August 2017.

The baby’s arrival concludes a three and a half year recruitment and enrollment phase for STRONG Kids 2.  This pioneering research project follows the cohort from birth through toddler age and preschool providing unique insights as to how individual biology interacts with family environment in an effort reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy eating habits in young children. 

Two New Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program Grants Awarded

Gardening and Family Health

Elucidating the Role of the Human and Environmental Microbiota

Dr. Naiman Khan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, is investigating the influence of gardening and individual health and its benefits to family rituals and routines.

Co-investigators include:

  • Matthew Browning, PhD, Assistant Professor, Recreation, Sport and Tourism
  • Andiara Schwingel, PhD, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Community Health
  • Hannah D. Holscher, PhD, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Understanding the Nutritional Challenges of Food Insecure Cancer Survivors

Dr. Anna Arthur, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Sylvia D. Stroup Scholar in Nutrition and Cancer, is identifying the role that food security plays in cancer survivorship and how cancer survivors prioritize their nutrition and food needs.

Co-investigators include:

  • Craig Gunderson, PhD, Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • Brenda Koester, M.S., Assistant Direcrtor, Family Resiliency Center
New Communications Specialist Joins the Family Resiliency Center

Ryann Monahan joins the Family Resiliency Center as the Center’s new Communications Specialist. She is a former broadcast journalist and has worked in higher education instruction since 2012 as an adjunct instructor in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Journalism. Monahan is also a founder and director of Project Athletes, a non-profit organization. She holds a BS in Media Studies and a MS in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Student Spotlight

Elizabeth Villegas, HDFS Graduate Student

What’s the biggest thing you are currently working on?

My biggest project is a multistate intervention program targeting obesity prevention/health promotion in Hispanic Immigrant families. We are currently recruiting families, collecting data, and implementing workshop series to promote health.

Why is your work important?

This work is important particularly because Hispanic immigrants are disproportionally affected by the obesity epidemic and educating the community about the risks and behaviors that can prevent and influence health outcomes can help change negative health outcomes.

What did you do over the summer?

I interned for the Society for Research in Child Development and National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research in Bethesda, MD. In the summer internship, I synthesized peer-reviewed articles based from National Institutes of Health grants focused on behavioral and social science research. Another major task was to create an annotated bibliography on OBSSR topics related to opioid treatment, interventions, overdose, addiction, and issues related to chronic pain. I collaborated with a team to discuss the importance and highlight certain aspects that behavior and social science play in treating chronic pain as well as addiction. I wrote 3 reports on translation work funded through the NIH that focused on OBSSR, the reports focused on maternal stress and childhood obesity, infant dietary recommendations, and the effects of childhood trauma on health related outcomes.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Salsa dancing and rock climbing

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