Sep. 12 2016

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selected Yumiko Aratani, PhD, director of health and mental health at the National Center for Children in Poverty of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, for its new Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program. Dr. Aratani, who is an assistant professor in the Mailman School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, was one of 15 three-person teams selected from 185 applicants. The program brings together researchers and community leaders from across the country to collaborate and apply research to create change and advance a culture of health.

The three-year program is organized around teams comprised of two researchers and one community leader. Through professional coaching, mentoring, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum, the fellows will gain leadership skills to address health disparities, and build healthier communities. As they participate in the program, team members continue working full time, applying new knowledge and leadership in their communities and their field.

Dr. Aratani will be working with team members at the Fresno Housing Authority in Fresno, California, which has some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation, high crime, and low rates of secondary school graduation. Together, they will investigate the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among parents with young children living in public housing communities, and examine the impact of an evidence-based parenting and mental health support on young children, and to what extent the intervention’s impact varies by the severity of parental ACEs.

Additional partners providing training and coaching to fellows include: AcademyHealth, Allina Health, ISAIAH, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program is one of four new leadership development programs launched this year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and represent a four-year, multimillion dollar investment. The programs join five existing leadership programs in advancing RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders impacting health.