A Coping Skills Intervention for Low-SES Latino Families of Children with Asthma

Uncontrolled asthma in school-aged children is a significant public health problem, and Latinx children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds are disproportionately affected. This project, recently funded by the NIH National Institute of Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD), will conduct an RCT to test the efficacy of Adapt 2 Asthma, a culturally responsive, family-based coping skills and asthma self-management intervention developed for low-SES Latinx children with asthma and their families.

The research team is partnering with primary care clinics in Austin and the surrounding communities to deliver the intervention. Dr. Erin M. Rodríguez is the principal investigator for this project. Dr. Sharon Horner, Dr. Elizabeth Matsui, Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman, and Dr. Tiffany Whittaker of the University of Texas at Austin are co-investigators.


This project draws on a comprehensive system dynamics model to study how the intersection of social categories shapes a student’s educational experiences and outcomes. The model highlights how individual identities are situated within micro, meso, and macro systems, and how these system dynamics create inequalities in educational experiences and ultimately, in educational attainment. Specifically, we explore how U.S. educational systems marginalize non-dominant social identities to contribute to disparities in educational attainment.

Findings will contribute to the understanding of how institutions of higher education can best support students with multiply burdened social categories in reaching their education goals. Esther Calzada serves as principal investigator.

Mentoring Youth: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial of The Friends of the Children Program

A sample of almost 300 children and their primary caregivers from Boston, New York City, Portland, and Seattle were recruited to participate in an RCT of the Friends of the Children (FOTC) program. Working in partnership with elementary schools, FOTC identifies children in kindergarten as appropriate for their program, and then connects with caregivers and promises to provide a mentor to their child until the age of 18 years. Data were collected each year for the first 5 years of program delivery. The work was funded by the NIH through NICHD, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the OJJDP. Mark Eddy was the principal investigator. A continuation of this project was recently funded by NIH through the NICHD. In this phase of the work, assessments will be conducted with participants at age 19 and age 20 years, with one of their caregivers, and for FOTC condition participants, their current mentors.

Dr. Mark Eddy is serving as a co-principal investigator on this new round of work along with Dr. Kevin Haggerty, Director of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington. Dr. Martie Skinner from the University of Washington, and Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr. of the University of Texas at Austin are co-investigators.

Implementing ParentCorps in Corpus Christi Independent School District

ParentCorps, a scalable early childhood program for pre-k students and their families, was developed to effectively embed evidence-based interventions for children and parents into high-poverty schools serving primarily families of color. The main goals of this program are to engage and support communities of parents and early childhood teachers, promote nurturing and predictable home and classroom experiences for young children, and strengthen children’s learning, behavior, and health.

This project, conducted in partnership with New York University School of Medicine, supports the implementation of ParentCorps in Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD). The goal is to achieve long-term positive outcomes for children by ensuring they are ready to learn as they enter Kindergarten. Dr. Esther Calzada and Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman are principal investigators.

Integrative Data Analyses Investigating the Long-term and Cross-over Effects of Randomized, School-based Prevention Programs on Adult Mental Health

A number of longitudinal studies of interventions designed to prevent the genesis of negative outcomes in youth have been conducted over the past several decades. Many of these trials are not sufficiently powered to examine the impact of interventions on rare outcomes or to explore intervention effect heterogeneity.

To address this problem, the principal investigators of six NIH-funded longitudinal RCTs of preventive interventions (including LIFT) are collaborating to link and harmonize data across trials and generating a data set of 10,000 participants. Multifactorial, multi-level analyses will be conducted to explore intervention impacts on suicidal behaviors, depression and anxiety symptoms and diagnoses, and psychosis symptoms as well as potential mediators and moderators of impact. New data will also be collected from the National Death Index. This study was recently funded by the NIH through the NIMH.

The co-principal investigators on this project are Dr. Rashelle Musci and Dr. Holly Wilcox from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Mark Eddy is the LIFT RCT principal investigator. Dr. Michael Lorber and Dr. Stacey Tiberio of New York University are part of the LIFT team.

Miles de Manos: Testing the Efficacy of a School-based Youth Violence Preventive Intervention in a High-Risk International Context

This project, recently funded by the NIH through NICHD, will be an RCT of the Miles de Manos (MdM) curriculum in Honduras in order to evaluate program impacts on youth violence. MdM is a multi-modal, universal, primary school-based prevention intervention that is delivered to parents and teachers. It was created by an international team of researchers and practitioners and has been adopted by the Honduran Secretary of Education as part of its national education plan. The development of MdM was funded by the German government through the GIZ.

Dr. Charles Martinez, Jr. and Dr. Mark Eddy are the co-principal investigators for this work. Dr. Heather McClure of the University of Oregon and Dr. Erin Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Austin are co-investigators. 

A Natural Experiment of Permanent Supportive Housing for Men and Women Releasing from State Prison

Finding safe, secure and stable housing after release from prison is quite difficult. There are a number of programs available around the country that provide short-term transitional housing, but few that offer permanent housing. The living situation of an ex-offender make all the difference in success on the outside.

Recently, a new housing complex for former prisoners, The Oaks, was built in Eugene, Oregon through funding from HUD. The complex is managed by the non-profit Sponsors, Inc., a transitional housing program. After completion of The Oaks, Sponsors partnered with Homes for Good, the local county housing authority, to double the set-aside of housing stock for former prisoners. Sponsors and Homes for Good then partnered with Third Sector Capital Partners to launch a social impact bond project to support a “permanent supportive housing” initiative. Through funding from HUD, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, a natural experiment (N = 250) is being conducted to study the impacts of permanent supportive housing on ex-offenders.

Dr. Mark Eddy is co-principal investigator along with Dr. Michael Lorber from New York University. Dr. Jean Kjellstrand from the University of Oregon is also an investigator on this project. Data collection is ongoing.

Parenting A – Z (PAZ): Expanding Opportunities to Promote Positive Parenting Practices in Pediatric Primary Care

Positive parenting practices protect children and families from a host of adverse outcomes, but interventions that foster these practices are often unavailable to those most in need due to systematic and structural inequities. When existing positive parenting programs are provided to low-income and minoritized participants, the benefits are attenuated relative to the benefits for the more affluent, White families for whom many programs were originally developed and tested. Primary care may provide an optimal platform for early prevention for low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse families, because research has shown that families prefer to receive care in this setting, and because well-child visits are covered by payers at no out-of-pocket cost to families.

The goals of this study are to develop and test the effectiveness of a brief, preventive e-health intervention targeting positive parenting practices made available to families during well-child visits. The e-health intervention will be developed with end-user feedback in order to increase ecological validity, and a companion provider training will be developed to increase intervention sustainment. The study is funded by the Episcopal Health Foundation. Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman is the principal investigator. For more information please contact Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman.

Project LEAPS: Latino Education After School

Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr. and Dr. Elma Lorenzo-Blanco from the University of Texas at Austin are co-principal Investigators, Dr. Mark Van Ryzin of the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Heather McClure from the University of Oregon serve as co-investigators.

Project LEAPS will intervene simultaneously with Latino parents, their students, and school counselors and teachers, all of whom play a critical role in preparing the whole family for a student’s postsecondary success, particularly as they transition to high school. The study will take place in Austin Independent School District. Using motivational interviewing, parent support sessions focused on academic encouragement and college readiness, equity-focused parent involvement strategies for educational professionals, and two summer academies prior to students’ 9th- and 10th-grade years, Project LEAPS will teach parents and students how to prepare for a student’s post-secondary education and completion. This project will receive $1.4 million over four years.

Responses to COVID-19 Among Parents (ReCAP)

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical health and economic prosperity has been widely acknowledged, but both the virus and the consequent safety measures will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of society—among them, families of young children living in poverty. These families are more likely to be low-wage workers whose jobs were lost, or whose work is considered essential but who lack access to adequate personal protective equipment. They are less likely to acquire accurate information, less likely to have alternative care for their children if required to work, and have inequitable access to the internet required for distance learning. These circumstances may increase overall stress and parenting stress, associated with increased use of maladaptive parenting practices and other long-term negative child outcomes.

Low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse families may also have unique strengths (cultural values, social support) that can offset these challenges. Following a prior sample of 300 low-income families from community pediatric clinics, we are comparing families' experiences prior to COVID-19 and during the COVID-19 quarantine to better understand the unique experiences of low-income families during this unprecedented time.

This grant is funded by the Episcopal Health Foundation and the UT Austin Office for the Vice President of Research. Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman is principal investigator. For more information please contact Dr. Sarah Kate Bearman.

Collaborative for Access and Equity: A Microsoft-UTexas Partnership (Pilot)

To achieve equitable inclusion for disabled college students in classes and on campus, accessibility must include more than basic accommodations and course retrofits. What technology tools could improve learning? Does the student feel included in small group interactions? And what about the many students who may not disclose their disability or receive any official accommodations?

Improving access and inclusion for college students with disabilities is the goal of this grant awarded by Microsoft to Dr. Stephanie W. Cawthon, who leads the collaborative project with diverse teams of UT Austin students and faculty members from throughout the university. During the 2021-2022 pilot year, they will identify accessibility strategies and technology tools, share their perspectives as disabled people about access and inclusion, and build an online learning community with faculty members.

Program Management and Tracking System (PMATS)

PMATS serves as tool and an online reporting system for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section and their funded program sites across the state of Texas. Programs represented include the Diabetes Program/Council, Community Health and Wellness, School Based Health Centers, and Texas Healthy Communities.

Information is collected through the site in order to provide a uniform method by which to assess the progress each field site is making towards program goals, to compile program data across regions, and to produce reports that inform policy changes. Examples of specific community programs include diabetes self-management classes, nutrition classes, physical activity classes and other chronic disease prevention programs.

PMATS supports the continued development of the website for and the evaluation of an online worksite physical activity challenge for state employees called Get Fit. Get Fit encourages state employees to become physically active for at least 150 minutes per week for at least six of the ten weeks of the challenge. Participants then record their physical activity during the weeks of the challenge. Assessment of this challenge informs the state on the physical activity levels and modes of physical activities across the various participants within the participating organizations and on the continued success of their worksite wellness challenge. Dr. Esbelle Jowers serves as Principal Investigator.