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Release: June 12, 2001

Professors win grants from Obermann Center for studies of children

Eight University of Iowa researchers have won grants from the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies for four projects studying children and their families. These Center for Advanced Studies Spelman Rockefeller (CASSPR) Grants are supported by the UI Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund and by the UI Office of the Vice President for Research. The $5,000 grants will fund research to be carried out in 2001-02.

This year's award recipients are Kelly J. Clifton, assistant professor of urban and regional planning; Daniel Clay, associate professor of education; Michele J. Eliason, associate professor of nursing; Karen Farris, associate professor of pharmacy; Diane L. Huber, associate professor of Nursing; Michael W. Kelly, associate professor of pharmacy; Ann Marie McCarthy, associate professor of nursing; Janette Taylor, assistant professor of nursing.

Clifton’s project "Activity Demands of Teenagers and Their Effect on Household Travel Demand" will examine the types of activities in which teenagers are participating, how they travel to those activities, and the relationship that these activities place on overall household travel demand. The findings will be important for urban planners and policy makers as they seek to alleviate congestion, create transportation alternatives, and focus on improving the quality of life in American communities.

Eliason and Taylor are collaborating on a project, "The Effects of Mother’s Incarceration on Her Children." They plan to interview approximately 150 women who are mothers of minor-aged children and who are incarcerated at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. The study will examine the mothers’ perception of how their incarceration affects their children, including physical and mental health, behavior, school achievement, coping with the separation, and custody and living arrangement issues. The team will also collect data on the women’s experiences of domestic violence and their perceptions of its effect on their children. Stricter drug laws are resulting in increasing numbers of women sent to prison, but little is known about the effects of mother-child separation due to incarceration.

Huber is studying "Clinical Needs of Adolescents with Conduct Disorder who are in Treatment for Chemical Dependency." Adolescents with such a dual diagnosis typically end up in either drug treatment or the juvenile justice system, but the impact of either approach has not been impressive. She expects to find that these adolescents have multiple needs that have not been adequately assessed and hopes this study will lead to the development of a more effective treatment model.

McCarthy, Clay, Kelly, and Farris are assessing "Medication Administration in the School Setting: Perceptions of Families." There are currently no national guidelines on distribution of medications in schools, despite an increasing number of students in need of medical services and studies that show nearly half of school nurses reporting medication errors in their schools in the last year. This study will assess how children with chronic health conditions and their parents perceive the medication administration process in schools. Including a nurse, an educator, and two pharmacists on the research team will provide a broader view of the issues and the interventions that are needed to assure the safe administration of medications to children while they are at school.

Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center, said that since its inception this program has resulted in about $7.8 million in external grants and in numerous publications. In recent years CASSPR Grant recipients have gone on to win grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the American Heart Association. Work begun with CASSSPR grants has led to books and articles on topics such as childhood disease, language and learning, single parent families, children's accident injuries, and family stress.

Local community and professional groups who wish to invite researchers to speak at their meetings about these projects should contact the Obermann Center at (319) 335-4034.