Transforming Science and Communities
From trauma and homelessness to poverty, discrimination, and justice system involvement, adversity disrupts children's development and well-being. Through psychological science, faculty, postdocs and students in the SEED Research Center develop a greater understanding of the impact of adversity on children and families while designing interventions and policy to change lives.
Our mission is to advance SEED Science, an approach to understanding stress, early experiences and development that promotes intergenerational health, wellbeing and resilience by fostering rigorous interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research with collaborative community partners.
The Department of Psychology brings together world-class faculty who do leading-edge research about Stress, Early Experiences and Development (SEED). These passionate scholar-teachers address fundamental issues at the nexus of human development and adversity while engaging in cross-sector dialogue to apply scientific knowledge to policy and practice.
Strategic investments by the University of Denver and Department of Psychology led to the creation of the Stress, Early Experiences and Development (SEED) Research Center in 2014. Faculty working in teams alongside students, staff and postdoctoral fellows study psychological processes stemming from adversity across the lifespan. Using innovative front-line scientific methods, faculty affiliated with the SEED Center managed collaborative external grants totaling over $3.4 million in FY 2017.
Together, SEED faculty have demonstrated their collaborative power and potential to advance science, inform policy and practice, and develop the next generation of scholars. Now is the time to invest strategically in SEED to move from potential to transformation. Across four areas of funding, we will transform how SEED science is done, the next generation of scholars is developed and research is used by communities.
SEEDING the Future: A New Generation of Scholars
We will seed the future by developing a new generation of scholars who know how to do SEED research, teach in integrative and collaborative ways, and engage in cross-sector dialogue to advance policy and practice. We will do this by expanding our apprenticeship model to support cohorts of trainees who will benefit from outstanding training and rich mentoring experiences that go beyond the traditional advisor-student mentoring relationship. We will invest in scholars-in-training at different levels, including postdoctoral, doctoral, undergraduate and high school psychology fellows. This investment will support students who will become experts in multiple research specialties and produce substantial contributions to knowledge in the field of psychology.
SEEDING Dialogue and Impact: Distinction in SEED Science
We will lead cross-sector communication about SEED research nationally and globally through:
- Frontiers in Psychological Science Colloquium Series: Frontiers will be a nationally visible colloquium series that brings scientists from around the globe to give public talks and interact with fellows, faculty and community members.
- SEED White Papers, Community and Webinar Series: SEED faculty will collaborate with each other and with stakeholders from government, business and education sectors to advance the research and policy approaches that meet the needs of our communities.
- SEED Learning: Keeping it Local: A local lecture series for the community will offer semi-annual presentations that translate research for practitioners and policy makers locally while emphasizing networking.
SEEDING Success: Interventions that Work
As SEED faculty develop and identify interventions that build resilience and interrupt the negative consequences of early adversity or children and families, we will make those programs sustainable in the community. These programs will include a vibrant research arm that allows us to continue generating new knowledge while also providing rich learning experiences for students.
We have two programs targeted under Seeding Success. MotherWise focuses on reducing the risk that women face for violence, relationship problems, family instability and stress, both during pregnancy and just after a baby is born. The first program of its kind in metro Denver, MotherWise's six-week workshops support women in building practical life and relationship skills that empower them and their families to thrive during this critical stage.
The MotherWise vision – Healthy Relationships, Thriving Families – guides the overall project and measurable outcomes. With initial grant funding from a Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education grant from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, MotherWise will be a sustainable community program that simultaneously invests in high-quality research to advance SEED knowledge by 2020.
The Care Project provides assistance during pregnancy for mothers experiencing distress during the prenatal period. The goal of the Care project is to provide support during pregnancy and reduce mom's distress with the goal of improving both mother and baby health.
The Care Project is a large randomized control trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health that looks at whether helping moms with feelings of sadness or depression during pregnancy can benefit mom and baby. We are looking to see if helping moms with these feelings during pregnancy can benefit baby's development as well. We follow moms throughout pregnancy and into their baby’s first 18 months of life.
SEEDING Innovation: Research for Impact
We will generate new SEED knowledge through research and share SEED science with other scientists, students, communities, practitioners and policy makers. We will support robust collaborations that engage fellows at all stages of training, including:
- Faculty Pilot Research: Faculty will conduct keystone pilot studies that can be scaled up with external funding after the pilot phase. Projects will involve student, postdoctoral and faculty collaborators.
- Doctoral Student Research: Doctoral students will conduct dissertation research that advances SEED science and their development as SEED scientists.
Innovation requires changing how we engage families in research, particularly when those families face significant adversity, such as homelessness or poverty. We will fundamentally change our approach to engaging families through:
- Mobile Testing Center: A mobile testing center will allow our researchers to move around the Denver metro area, taking cutting-edge psychological and neuroscience equipment to children and families.
- Summer Psych-Sci Camps: A vibrant summer camp will offer children and families an early experience at DU, offering high-quality early care and education that emphasizes learning about science and also includes data collection for relevant research projects.here