The Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA) is funded by NIH, the World Bank, USAID, and private foundations. Research projects are based here in the U.S. as well as in Sierra Leone and Rwanda and abstracts on each research project are below.
Sugira Muryango, based in Rwanda, is a deployment focused, scalable home-visiting model that promotes positive parent-child relationships and fosters child development. It is based on the Family Strengthening Intervention (FSI) model originally developed and tested in Rwanda to improve communication and parenting in HIV/AIDS-affected families with school-age children. The Sugira Muryango program offers coaching to caregivers of young children to promote early stimulation and responsive parenting and reduce family violence.
Youth Forward, based in Sierra Leone, is a coordinated plan to establish model research partnerships and a regional hub for the advancement of implementation science focused on scaling up evidence-based mental health interventions for youth exposed to compound adversity via youth employment programs in West Africa. The Youth Readiness Intervention (YRI) is a cognitive behavioral therapy-based empirically supported intervention with treatment elements for delivery in community settings by a lay workforce.
The Family Strengthening Intervention for refugees (FSI-R), based in New England (Springfield, MA and Lewiston, ME), addresses mental health disparities in refugee children through family and community-based prevention. The study involves community-based participatory research (CBPR) with refugee groups resettled in New England (Somali Bantu and Bhutanese) to develop and evaluate the impact of the FSI-R done by refugees for refugees.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Implementation Science & Muslim Disparities
With many war-affected populations coming from Islamic societies, there is a call to understand the obstacles faced by and to support the needs of Muslim communities. The current political climate, travel bans, and increase in hostile incidences have contributed to even greater anxiety and stress among Muslim populations resettled in the US. Stressors caused by poverty, limited access to care, and discrimination often exacerbate risks due to war-related trauma exposure.
The RPCA is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to support research with specific attention to disparities facing war-affected, Muslim refugee populations, and other populations on topics such as substance use/abuse, community support, and caregiver-child relationships. The postdoctoral fellow will help measure psychosocial outcomes to assess effectiveness of the Family Strengthening Intervention for Refugees (FSI-R), a 10-module home-visiting intervention focused on skill-building and psychoeducation to reduce mental health disparities. Currently, the FSI-R is being tested for effectiveness through a randomized controlled trial with 300 families in Lewiston, Maine and Springfield, Massachusetts. To learn more about this opportunitiy and to apply, please visit Boston College's human resource website.
Postdoctoral Fellow - Diffusion & Spillover Study
The Postdoctoral fellow will work on the implementation science, research project at the direction of Drs. Theresa Betancourt (PI) and Alethea Desrosiers (Co-PI). The postdoctoral fellow will be required to spend at least 50% time in Sierra Leone, with the option of based in-country. Remaining time will be at Boston College. The postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of data collection and management, data analysis, study design, and implementation science related to the project. A strong focus of this position is to provide skills in multilevel modeling, data analysis, study design oversight, scientific writing, and implementation science processes. Previous NIH experience is also highly desired. To learn more about this opportunitiy, and to apply, please email Assistant Professor Alethea Desrosiers.
Program Manager - Sugira Muryango Expansion Study
The Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA) at the School of Social Work is an applied research program dedicated to improving the evidence base on the epidemiology of mental health problems and family functioning as well as intervention research to develop and test mental health services for children and families affected by multiple forms of adversity, including armed conflict, poverty, and infectious disease. The current research project links with an evidence-based, home-visiting model (Sugira Muryango; SM) that supports playful parenting, father engagement, improved nutrition, care seeking and family functioning -- to promote Early Child Development, positive parent-child relationships, and healthy child development. This scaling out implementation science hybrid design would enable RPCA to 1) expand SM to younger children (0-6 months); 2) increase by almost tenfold the number of children impacted by the intervention; 3) increase the use of technology to accelerate feedback; and, 4) test an evidence-based implementation strategy, the Promoting Lasting Anthropometric Change and Young Children’s Development (PLAY) Collaborative, to engage local stakeholders and frontline providers and supervisors to ensure quality improvement and sustainability. To learn more about this opportunitiy and to apply, please visit Boston College's human resource website, or visit this link.