About this theme area:
The IRL Families and Child Health theme includes action-oriented research projects focused on supporting families and child health, and health equity. While research addressing all aspects of families is included, this theme has an emphasis on research addressing and supporting the health of fathers and their children.
The family is the basic biosocial unit for promoting child health and development; families may provide economic, social, and psychological resources that enhance the health of all members, especially children. While there is an abundance of research on family characteristics and child health, families are changing and new questions are emerging. For example, as documented by Carr and Springer, the prevalence of two‐biological‐parent households in the United States has declined over the last half century. In 1970, 85 percent of children under age 18 lived in two‐ parent families. In 2004, by contrast, only 61 percent of children lived with married biological parents (Carr & Springer. 2010. "Advances in families and health research in the 21st century." Journal of Marriage and Family).
Moreover, differences by race, socioeconomic status, geographic region, migration status, and other key social factors are evident and growing. Among other things, nutritious foods, energetic play, and positive social and emotional environments, are critical to the health and well-being of children. Unfortunately, many children lack some or all of these basic necessities.
What is more, while there is an abundance of research—and major research programs—focused on maternal and child health, there is relatively little research on fathers (biological and social) and their children's health. This is unfortunate in an era of changing family structures, changing gender norms, and evident disparities in child health.
More community-engaged, action-oriented research on ways to support the health of families is needed. Setting this work apart from much of the existing literature is community engagement, which is the foundation stone of the IRL program. While documenting problems is important, the IRL program is primarily interested in developing and testing evidence-based solutions.
IRL Teams working on projects in this theme:
- Fostering Inter-Disciplinary Research-Practice Partnerships to Enhance Father's Capacities to Promote Child Well-being
- Promoting Maternal Health Equity through Collaborative Community Partnerships: Teaming doulas, providers and families to create birth equity
- Understanding and responding to the determinants of weathering in central Brooklyn Black youth ages 18 to 24
- The Effects of Hyper-Surveillance on the Health and Wellbeing of Justice-Involved Families: A Structural Violence Perspective.
- A Study of the Influence of Housing Instability on Health and Well-Being for Latinx Families in Washoe County, NV
- An exploration of methods for measuring the impact of culturally grounded interactions on the health and well-being of Native children
- It's a Dad Thing: Fathers as Powerful Agents of Change in Reducing Disparities in Maternal Mortality in the District of Columbia
- Civic Action for Refugee Empowerment: Building Healthy Families in Changing Transnational Context