Center for Research and Excellence on Adversity and Resilience (CREAR) and the Santa Barbara Resiliency Project (PIs: Kia-Keating, Barnett, Ruth). Screening and addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) in a pediatric setting.  Implementation and effectiveness study of the HEROES prevention program offered to parents of infants, at the time of their well-child visits to their pediatricians. The study uses a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of three programs: a Wellness Navigator, in-clinic program, and in-home program. In partnership with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, CALM, Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services. Supported by the J. S. Bower FoundationCottage Health, Priory Fund, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), the Center for Youth Wellness National Pediatric Practice Community (NPPC) on Adverse Childhood Experiences, First 5 Santa Barbara County, Outhwaite Foundation, Mosher Foundation, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Academic Senate, grants R13HD075495 and R03HD089465 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; PI: Kia-Keating) and K01MH110608 from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; PI: Barnett), and the Implementation Research Institute (IRI) at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, through an award from the National Institute of Mental Health (R25 MH080916; IRI Fellow: Barnett).

The Collaborative Approach to Examining Adversity and Building Resilience (CARE) Program (Lead PI: Thakur, co-PIs: James, Bush, Long, Hessler, Kia-Keating). The cross-disciplinary team will study how to enhance resilience in children and families who have experienced adversity. Though it is well understood that ACEs can impact life-long health, more knowledge is required, from both scientists and communities, to personalize and implement interventions to fit individual physiology and environmental circumstances. This project draws upon clinical intervention, stress-biology science, and community partnership to help us understand which children are most vulnerable to the effects of ACEs, what family and community-level factors provide the most buffering protection, and which interventions most improve child and family outcomes—and for whom. Funded by the CA Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, in partnership with the Office of the CA Surgeon General.

Proyecto HEROES (NICHD-funded) (PIs: Kia-Keating & Adams). The HEROES project provides prevention programming to Latino/a families focused on mindfulness, restorative communication, and strengthening family relationships. The HEROES project uses a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach in collaboration with partner agencies. The HEROES project included a photovoice program to engage Latino/a youth in identifying their own community assets and concerns. The goal of Proyecto HEROES is to address health disparities related to violence exposure among Latino/a youth.  In partnership with CALM.  Collaborators include: Community Action Commission, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Domestic Violence Solutions, Isla Vista Youth Projects, Just Communities, La Casa De La Raza, Las Abuelitas of Santa Barbara, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Promotores de SaludSanta Barbara City Council, Santa Barbara Police Department, Santa Barbara Response Network, Santa Barbara Unified School District, South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety, UCSB, and the Youth and Family Services YMCAEarly in the project, HEROES newsletters provide a glimpse into some of the project activities.  Past Newsletters: February 2016; April 2016; June 2016; October 2016; March 2017; September 2017

Climate Trauma Mental Health and Emergency Management Preparedness. A collaboration with the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC), a network focused on building community and individual resilience for the traumas and toxic stresses of climate change. As we face record numbers of rain and snow, wind, drought, wildfire, sea level rise and storm surges, and other disasters, accelerating toxic stresses can result from the damage or loss of residences and valuables, personal injury, loss of loved ones, loss of community and sense of place, water and food shortages, involuntary migration, physical health problems, and more. Research and experience also shows that these problems can be prevented, and more quickly addressed when they do occur, when individuals, groups, and organizational and community leaders understand the psychobiology of trauma and stress and learn good personal resilience skills and tools including robust social support networks and strong community links. This collaborative effort will work to map out strategies to promote resilience, prevent negative health and mental health sequelae, and help people find meaning, direction, and hope. The Climate Change Mental Wellness and Resilience Policy: A New Vision and Approach to Build Population-Level Mental Wellness and Resilience for Climate Generated Continuous, Intense, and Cascading Traumas and Toxic Stresses was released June 1, 2020.

Families Dealing with Disasters (NICHD-funded; PI: Felix): A study of families exposed to wildfire, seeking to (1) understand the relations between the post- disaster social cognitive and coping processes of parents and youth over time and how this influences youth psychosocial adjustment; and (2) examine what parent-child communicative processes positively and negatively affect youth psychosocial adjustment following a disaster.  In partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Trauma, Health & Hazards Center, and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center.  

Frontlines of a Global Pandemic: Resilience Coaching for Children in Healthcare Families. (PIs: Kia-Keating & Santacrose). Funded by the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, Collaborative Research Initiatives Grants Program, this project examines the health impact of resilience coaching on children with caregivers who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as healthcare providers

Vicarious Trauma and Individual & Family Resilience among Healthcare Professionals Working in Contexts of Uncertainty. (PI: Kia-Keating) This research examines vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and resilience among healthcare workers responding to natural disaster, humanitarian aid workers in global conflict settings, and families of healthcare physicians and nurses offering care in the context of a pandemic.

College Risk and Resilience Study: (PI: Kia-Keating). A project examining the long-term impact of a universal prevention program, Gaucho FYI, for entering undergraduates targeting high risk substance use, mental health, sexual assault prevention, community safety, and personal well-being.  In partnership with the UCSB Division of Student Affairs, including the Alcohol and Drug ProgramHealth & Wellness Program, the Office of Student Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, Women, Gender and Sexual Equity Program, the Office of International Students and Scholars, as well as the UCSB Police Department, and Housing and Residential Services.

Graduate Student Mentored Projects

Health Care Providers and Their Families at the Frontline of COVID-19 (PI: Alavi) Health care workers serve in critical roles and conditions during disaster response. This project addresses the vital research gap on examining challenges pertaining to parenting, risks, resilience, and coping mechanisms of health care providers and their families who are at the frontline of COVID-19.Results will provide a theoretical understanding of cognitive, interpersonal, and environmental factors that contribute to attitudes, beliefs, and perceived barriers or facilitators to resilience, in the context of disaster. The study’s findings will underscore the public health need to consider health care providers and their families’ mental health and well-being, given the singularity of their experiences and the vast amount of physical and psychological risks they are challenged with during COVID-19. Funded by the Multidisciplinary Research on Coronavirus and its Impact (MRCI) grant. 

Aid Worker Resilience Project (PI: Nerenberg).  Expatriate aid workers serve in critical roles around the world, moving outside of their home country to provide important services such as food, education, and healthcare to vulnerable populations. To carry out this important work, they make many personal sacrifices and may experience primary and secondary trauma as well as culture shock, loneliness, burnout, and mental health challenges. The UCSB Aid Worker Resilience Project seeks to better understand sources of resilience in expatriate aid workers as well as what clinical techniques most effectively promote their mental health and well-being. Improved mental health and resiliency allows aid workers to better serve thousands of vulnerable people and can have ripple effects for communities around the world. Funded by the Multidisciplinary Research on Coronavirus and its Impact (MRCI) grant. Link:

Adversity and Yoga Project (PI: Taghavi). Lifelong physical, mental, emotional, and social impacts of trauma and chronic stress can result from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which a large portion of the U.S. population endorses. While the long-term health consequences of ACEs have been increasingly examined, what is less known are integrative approaches to resilience and healing that address the range of both long-term physical and mental health consequences. The current study on adversity and yoga examines the role of yoga in the lives of individuals who have experienced adversity, especially in how yoga has impacted them physically, mentally, and socio-emotionally in dealing with adverse or challenging life experiences. Funded by Ray E. Hosford Fellowship Fund.

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