The Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk was established at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital in 2005. The mission of the Center is to stimulate outstanding interdisciplinary research, education and clinical services on the biological and social factors that determine the developmental outcome of at-risk children.
Children can be at risk for non-optimal developmental outcome because of biological factors, because of social factors, or often because of both biological and social factors. The study of these children enables us to learn about developmental processes in typically developing and atypically developing children and to develop treatment strategies to meet the individual needs of the child and family.
The Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk is dedicated to 1) advance theories of the developmental pathways from fetal and infancy periods in at-risk children, (2) enhance synergy between research and clinical practice that advances child development research, intervention programs and social policy, and (3) train scientists and practitioners in interdisciplinary methods from the field of child development.
Our objective is to nurture, promote and coordinate research, training, education, and clinical services through Women & Infants' Center for Children and Families in child development and developmental psychopathology. Our group is interdisciplinary spanning the disciplines of developmental and clinical psychology, pediatrics, psychiatry, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, substance abuse and public health. We are excited by the translational work that occurs at the boundaries where disciplines intersect leading to new science and the handshaking between science and clinical practice.
Research includes studies on mechanisms that explain long-term developmental outcome with emphasis on at-risk children. Studies of drug-exposed children include multi-site longitudinal studies of prenatal cocaine exposure and prenatal methamphetamine exposure, neuroimaging, vagal tone and psychopathology, and joint attention. Other studies include a 17-year follow-up study, neuroimaging and kinematic studies of preterm infants, vagal tone and social behavior in children with autism, maternal depression during pregnancy and fetal/infant outcome, and the impact of maternal smoking during pregnancy on fetal and infant behavior.
Services for populations of children of interest for fundamental and applied research
Clinical services, provided through Women & Infants' Center for Children and Families, are multidisciplinary and family based. Services include the Behavior and Development Clinic for toddlers and preschool children with social and emotional problems; the Infant Behavior, Cry, and Sleep Clinic for infants with crying and associated sleeping and feeding problems; Special Care Nursery services providing developmental care for preterm infants; and an early intervention program that provides treatment and consultation to Rhode Island state agencies.
Education and training of students, scientists, and practitioners
Training and education are provided at pre and postdoctoral levels including training postdoctoral fellows in the Child Psychiatry Research Training Program in child mental health, fellowship program in neonatal-perinatal medicine, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, triple board program in pediatrics and psychiatry, and the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Training is also provided on programs and assessments developed at our Center.