Monitor on Psychology - February 2012 - (Page 84)

Foundation amerIcan psychologIcal Grants help solve society’s problems APF Visionary Grants are enabling five psychologists to expand their work understanding and assisting vulnerable populations. By ToRi DeANGEliS W hen University of Hawaii Assistant Professor Thao N. Le, PhD, MPH, sought to bring mindfulness techniques to three Native American tribes of Lake County, Mont., she hit on an approach that the tribes quickly embraced. “They said that mindfulness is Le what they’ve been doing for centuries, and that this project will help to restore their traditional ways and practices,” she says. Many young members of these tribes — the Confederated Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille — are disconnected from their cultural roots and suffer from disproportionately high rates of suicide and other forms of violence, Le says. Now, thanks to a $20,000 Visionary Grant from the American Psychological Foundation, and support from the Colorado Injury Control Research Center, Le is implementing and pilot testing a translated version of the Mind Body Awareness Project — a Californiabased mindfulness curriculum geared to at-risk youth — with young members of the tribes. Working with her colleague, Judy Gobert, and other tribe members, she is weaving cultural metaphors, stories and other activities into the program in ways the young people can relate to. Le plans to bring in facilitators from the Mind Body Awareness program to train members of the tribe to eventually take it over. “My goal is for this program to become completely sustainable,” she says. Le is one of five psychologists who won the 2011 APF Visionary Grants. Each year APF grants up to $20,000 to support innovative psychological solutions to pressing human problems including violence, stigma and prejudice, natural and manmade disasters and health conditions. A related APF grant, the Drs. Raymond A. And Rosalee G. Weiss Research and Program Innovation Fund Grant, provides $5,000 annually in these same topic areas. “The recipients of these grants are innovators who are using the scientific rigor of psychology to solve some of society’s thorniest issues,” says APF Executive Director Elisabeth Straus. Two other grantees are also examining interventions for troubled youth. Georgetown University Associate Professor Rachel Barr Barr, PhD, will use a $4,354 Visionary Grant and a $5,000 Drs. Raymond A. and Rosalee G. Weiss Research and Program Innovation Fund Grant to extend a study she is conducting with Carole Shauffer, JD, of the Youth Law Center, that seeks to nurture attachments between incarcerated teen parents and their children. “Teen parents in the juvenile justice system and their children are at risk for a range of poor outcomes, including in their relationships with one another,” says Barr. “This intervention, if effective, could help build them stronger early attachments that may benefit their future lives in many ways.” Called the Baby Elmo Project, the intervention offers weekly parenttraining sessions delivered by detention facility staff; video clips from a video series called “Sesame Beginnings,” where characters from the television show “Sesame Street” demonstrate positive interactions among parents and very young children; and weekly parentchild visits. Research shows the protocol improves bonds between these parents and their 1- to 3-year-old children. Now, the grant will allow them to test its effectiveness with children younger than 1, says Barr. Meanwhile, Wake Forest University Assistant Professor Lisa Kiang, PhD, is using her $17,117 Visionary grant to examine how prejudice Kiang may affect youth 84 M o n i t o r o n p s y c h o l o g y • F e b ru a ry 2 0 1 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - February 2012

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012
President’s column
From the CEO
APA files two briefs in support of same-sex couples
New registry seeks to understand addiction recovery through ‘crowdsourcing’
APA launches a database of tests and measures
Watch for new member benefit: “APA Access”
Apply now for APA’s Advanced Training Institutes
PsycTHERAPY, APA’s new database, brings therapy demos to life
In Brief
APA scientists help guide tobacco regulation
A-mazing research
‘A machine for jumping to conclusions’
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Righting the imbalance
The beginnings of mental illness
Science Directions
Improving disorder classification, worldwide
Protesting proposed changes to the DSM
Interventions for at-risk students
Harnessing the wisdom of the ages
Anti-bullying efforts ramp up
Hostile hallways
R U friends 4 real?
Support for teachers
Speaking of Education
Record keeping for practitioners
Going green
At the intersection of law and psychology
Division Spotlight
Grants help solve society’s problems

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012