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Research Projects

Oklahoma Baby Study 

This study brings infants and mothers to the OSU campus lab five times over the first three years of the infant’s life. The goal is to assess the trajectory of the mother-infant relationship based on characteristics of the mother and infant and interactions observed between them. This study was designed as a control group for the Legacy project directed by Dr. Amanda Morris in Tulsa. Dr. Amy Williamson is leading the data collection in Stillwater, OK. The assessments include surveys completed by the mother, a videotaped interaction between mom and baby and an interview with the mother asking about her relationship with her baby. Data collection is currently in progress and we are still recruiting new participants who have an infant younger than 6 months old.


PEPP (Preschool Expulsion Prevention Project)

This project is funded through the Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood. It’s two parts include: 1) Examining classroom and developmental correlates of suspension and expulsion practices in Oklahoma. This part was completed in 2017 with a survey to all licensed childcare facilities in Oklahoma. 2) Developing an evidence-based professional development program for early care and education teachers aimed at improving their self-regulation skills, facilitating self-regulation in very young children, understanding the impact of risk and resilience on adult and child self-regulation development, and reflective practice. This program will be piloted in Stillwater area Early Head Start programs in Fall 2017 and available more widely beginning in 2018. Dr. Amy Williamson leads this project. 


Project LAUNCH and Systems of Care

These projects are contracts between IBEaR and state agencies (Oklahoma State Health Department and Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, respectively) to offer workforce development for Oklahoma based mental health clinicians. The professional development program includes a graduate course in Infant Mental Health assessment offered through the HDFS department at OSU and 50 hours of reflective consultation towards their endorsement in infant mental health. Additionally, IBEaR provides evaluation of the IMH trainings brought to the area via Systems of Care funds. Dr. Williamson, Shannon Lee and Melissa Griffin lead these projects. 


Tulsa Children’s Project (TCP)

The Tulsa Children’s Project is an integrated set of interventions implemented in partnership with Tulsa Educare Centers. Currently, we are focusing on two parenting interventions. First, Super Parents is a group-based parenting program that focuses on building positive parenting skills, promoting mindfulness and stress reduction in parents and increasing parents’ executive function skills through games and activities that they can play with their children. We utilize the Active Parenting curricula and the most recent edition of Active Parenting - The First Five Years incorporates the Super Parents curricula. Second, Legacy for Children is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program that we are implementing in the Tulsa community. Parenting groups start in infancy and continue until children are three-years of age and focus on building nurturing early relationships and support for mothers. We have parenting groups at OSU-Tulsa and Catholic Charities and are the first site in the country to implement the Spanish Legacy curricula. In partnership with OU and the CDC, we are evaluating the implementation of the Spanish Legacy program. Funding for TCP comes from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The project is led by Drs. Amanda Morris and Jennifer Hays-Grudo and Dr. Colony Fugate leads the pediatric Legacy group. 


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Evaluation of Talk, Read, Sing Campaign

In partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, we are evaluating components of Tulsa’s Talk Read Sing campaign. Our evaluation has focused on the Bright Beginnings program, where mothers receive Toolkits in the hospital after the birth of a child that teach parents about the importance of talking, reading and singing to babies. We are also evaluating signage that is installed in local grocery stores to promote talking, reading and singing to children and faith-based literacy nights that are implemented monthly at local churches. Preliminary findings for the Bright Beginnings and faith-based literacy program are promising and we continue to work with GKFF on the implementation of these initiatives. Drs. Amanda Morris and Martha Zapata lead this project. 


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OK-UP: Oklahoma’s University for Parents

This is a new initiative that is working with parents and the community to encourage and teach positive parenting skills. This is done through community events and talks, as well as training community agency staff and OSU students and staff on evidence-based parenting curricula, such as the Active Parenting programs. This initiative is in partnership with OSU extension and is led by Dr. Amanda Morris and is part of CIRCA (the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Childhood Adversity). 


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The Oklahoma Infant Mental Health Survey 

This measure was designed by IBEaR researchers to assess the general public’s awareness of infant mental health, knowledge of child development and beliefs about responsive caregiving for infants and toddlers, and people’s beliefs about child care providers’ role in infant mental health. We piloted the measure nationally with the general public (a sample of 1027 individuals) and also included a subsample of early childhood professionals (a sample of 199 individuals). An additional goal was to identify demographic and well-being characteristics associated with participant responses. Thus, the survey also included measures of depression, adverse childhood experiences, protective childhood experiences, mindfulness and attachment. Several posters from these data were presented by the IBEaR team at the World Association for Infant Mental Health Congress in Prague, Czech Republic in May 2016 and manuscripts are forthcoming.


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