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Family Resiliency Center November 2017 Newsletter
Child Development Laboratory Celebrates 75th Anniversary

The Child Development Laboratory commemorated its 75th anniversary with a special anniversary lecture Thursday, November 9th.  The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen Gallagher from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  More than 100 people attended to listen to Dr. Gallagher's lecture, “Transformative Early Childhood Education: What It Means And What It Takes.” The talk highlighted the importance of providing access to high quality early care and education programs, and why children, families and communities all benefit from such initiatives.

#talkFRCResearch Podcast Series

Exploring The Influence of Diet & Obesity On Children's Brain Functioning & Development

An eye-opening look at how a child's body weight and nutrition may influence their brain functioning and brain development.  FRC affiliate, Dr. Naiman Khan, discusses his trailblazing new and ongoing research.  This podcast also explores how Dr. Khan and his research team are contributing to the Family Resiliency Center's innovative STRONG Kids Program, a longitudinal study which follows participants from birth through toddler age and will provide unique insights on how individual biology interacts with family environment in an effort to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy eating habits in young children. 

Listen on the FRC Website | Subscribe and Listen on iTunes 


NEW Project Coordinator Ashley Neef Joins the Family Resiliency Center

We welcome Ashley Neef to the FRC! Ashley spent three years working in clinical research, including two years as a regulatory specialist and one year as a research coordinator. She assists with the FRC's numerous projects. Ashley completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2014 earning a BS in Biology.


The Early Child Development Lab wins 1st Place in UI Campus Energy Conservation. Energy conservation work took place in several campus buildings during FY15-16. The Early Child Development Lab was able to capitalize on its conservation work more than any other.  Congrats to FRC Affiliate Brent McBride, Director of the Child Development Lab and his staff!

FRC Affiliate Spotlight
Dr. Gail Ferguson - Assistant Professor, HDFS

1. You and your team are heading to Jamaica this month for the JUS Media? Programme.  Can you explain what you will be doing in Jamaica? 

Yes, our team will travel to Jamaica to continue our NIH-funded research with our partners at the University of the West Indies. The J(amaican and) U(nited) S(tates) Media? Programme is a transdisciplinary food-focused media literacy program. We designed the program to teach Jamaican youth and families to question the food messages in media and advertising, especially U.S. cable, in order to be smarter and healthier. In the spring of this year we conducted an efficacy study of the intervention in Jamaica, finding very promising preliminary results – families who received the intervention had higher media literacy skills and fruit consumption afterwards compared to families who did not. This month our team is heading to Jamaica to convene a group of local stakeholders for a 1-day meeting with the aim to incorporate food-focused media literacy into policy and intervention efforts for school-aged children and their families to build health habits. Some of the invited stakeholders include the Jamaica Ministry of Health, The Jamaica Broadcasting Commission, and Jamaica Advertising Council, the National PTA, Grace Kennedy Foundation, and the Pan American Health Organization.

2. How with the JUS Media? Programme impact the not only, the Jamaican Culture, but also cultures around the world?

Unhealthy eating is a major risk factor for obesity and other non-communicable chronic diseases causing severe public health impacts worldwide. The JUS Media? Programme is very first intervention to address the negative impact of U.S. media on healthy habits of youth and families outside the U.S., while explicitly taking globalization and Americanization into account. Jamaica is our case study to pilot the JUS Media? Programme, but if this intervention is successful there, it holds good promise to be useful to the larger Caribbean, and other world regions facing similar globalization-related health issues. Our research shows that remote acculturation (in this case, adopting American identities and lifestyles) is a new phenomenon which increases the influence of U.S. media on youth and their unhealthy eating. Moreover, my lab, the Culture and Family Life Lab, has conducted remote acculturation studies across several countries, and we have found that remote acculturation is linked to eating behaviors in other countries such as South Africa. Therefore, we have good reason to believe that the JUS Media? Programme may have impact beyond Jamaica.

3. What us your favorite food? And can you share your favorite recipe?

As a person born and raised in Jamaica, my favorite food is Jamaican food, hands down. However, I very much enjoy Trinidadian, Ethiopian, and Thai food, and I love trying new foods wherever I travel. A favorite recipe is Jamaican “Rice and Peas”, and yes, it is made from red kidney beans, but it is still called “Rice and Peas”. Check out Dr. Ferguson’s recipe below!

4. What are your hobbies or what do you like to do in your free time?

I love traveling internationally and I love feeling the wind in my face. I try to combine the two when I can, which is why my absolute favorite experience is taking a fishing motor boat from Port Royal, Jamaica to a tiny island called Lime Cay just off the island’s shore for a few heavenly hours on the beach. Thankfully, I can also enjoy both travel and wind right here in the Mid-western U.S. by taking weekend trips to anywhere with my family and bicycle rides with my son on our tandem bike.


Food And Family Recipes From the FRC

Happy Thanksgiving from the Family Resiliency Center! 

We are a food and family lab- where food, family, and science come together. 

In that spirit, we'd like to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes!