K Award research on intergerational trauma among refugees

I will provide a follow-up to our work in Chad, but I want to take a moment to announce (and perhaps revel in announcing) a grant I received (after a revisions and months of anxious waiting) that starts next Monday. The K award program is an NIH grant mechanism designed to foster young scholars’ development into “independent researchers”, covering 75% of salary for five years plus research and education costs. For specifics, see this. It’s based around a cadre of mentors and scholarship married to a specific course of research that will prepare the grantee for proposing and securing more research grants in the future.

My course of research involves a basic question in research with refugees post-resettlement: Are problems encountered after resettling due more to past experiences, or due more to the problems encountered by many low income immigrants? The specific problems my work will focus on concerns family conflict. In our clinic at Bellevue, one of the major complaints of our clients following family reunificationi is conflict between parents and their newly arrived children. The refugee literature suggests that this has to do with parents’ trauma (including “intergenerational trauma”); the immigration literature seems to imply that it’s pretty typical for new immigrant families in general. The payoff for a study like this is determining whether interventions need to be tailored to refugees or if existing interventions would be sufficient (e.g., like those of Szapocznik, see here for info on his work). So, I’ll tell you the answer next Monday. Or perhaps Tuesday.

My primary mentor for the K is Francesca Gany, head of the NYU School of Medicine’s Center for Immigrant Health at (http://www.med.nyu.edu/cih/). Also in the mentorship group are Carola Suarez-Orozco, the co-director of Immigrant Studies at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education (http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/immigration/), Stevan Weine of University of Illinois at Chicago (who has done great work with Bosnian community in Chicago and Bosnia; http://www.psych.uic.edu/research/genocide/biography.htm), and Stanley Wasserman of Indiana University (the statistical father of social network analysis; http://www.indiana.edu/~soc/zbio_Wasserman.shtml). I’m very much looking forwards to working with all of them.

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