My primary professional interests include:
(1) the development of children at-risk, in particular the examination of risk and resilience (i.e., effective coping and adaptation in the face of major life stress) and youngsters’ adjustment to trauma; and
(2) the use of evaluative research to guide system change, program refinement, service delivery, and policy.
These interests have led me to focus on applied research with professional and community partners from different disciplines (e.g., mental health, education, child welfare). I value the involvement of community members, particularly those potentially impacted by a project, in the development and implementation of research. To conduct such applied community research, I must participate in the community, foster relationships and connections, ensure mutual trust and benefit from the project, earn social capital, and negotiate the inevitable logistical complications.
I engage in these efforts because, once a foundation has been laid, the work can have a significant impact. For instance, I have used project data from work with children who have faced adversity to detail their needs for services and supports, frame recommendations for system change, and discuss warranted policy modifications and their implications. My work has helped identify ways to better meet the needs of at-risk children and families, including families of children with mental health difficulties and those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and has provided critical feedback for programs and systems, leading to their enhanced efficacy.