Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

SoHE News: Mar 5–11

Thanks for reading our weekly roundup of news and events at the School of Human Ecology. Have something we should know about? Email Public Relations Manager Serena Larkin, or submit your SoHE event via this form. View past issues of news and events here.

In-house highlights

Grad student Evans keynotes Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board annual meeting

Laura Evans, a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies, gave the keynote address at last week’s annual meeting of the State of Wisconsin’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board. Her talk, now viewable in full online, was titled “Milestones in Racial, Cultural and Gender Identity Development: Racial Identities, Conversations, and Messages in Children and Families.”

Flanagan opens discussion on civic development research at Society for Research on Adolescence Virtual Conference

Kicking off the Society for Research on Adolescence Virtual 2021 event, the invited Symposium, “Youth Civic Engagement: A Symposium in Honor of Constance Flanagan,” presented work honoring Dr. Constance Flanagan, Professor Emerita of Civil Society and Community Studies, former Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs for SoHE, and the Vaughan Bascom Professor in Women, Family and Community. Inspired by Flanagan’s thinking, participants presented work on ways that adolescents are leading social and political change—from the Black Lives Matter movement to adolescent participation in the 2020 election.

SoHE scholars in the news

Sarmiento on El Centro Cultural de Mexico and housing rights

Dr. Carolina Sarmiento, Assistant Professor of Civil Society and Community Studies and board member of El Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana, California, spoke with the Los Angeles Times on how El Centro, an alternative space in Santa Ana where the community can find cultural, education, and artistic activities that strengthen their identities and talents, has advocated for the homeless community in the area while struggling with the greater issue of housing rights.

Halpern-Meekin on the COVID relief bill’s benefit for poor Americans

An article in Voice of America quoted SoHE’s Dr. Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, discussing the huge positive impact of the new COVID relief bill in fighting poverty in America.

Harvey and Urban on improved confidence in youth personal finance education

Dr. Melody Harvey, Assistant Professor of Consumer Science, and Dr. Carly Urban, an alumna of SoHE’s PhD in Consumer Behavior and Family Economics now teaching at Montana State University, have published new research with Next Gen Personal Finance on a massive increase in confidence among high school teachers to teach personal finance topics.

Fairbanks and MFA graduate featured in Reciprocity exhibition

To celebrate reciprocal bonds, whether that be of mentor/mentee, friendship, family, teacher/student, Women Made Gallery, the longest running feminist art gallery in Chicago, invited artists to pair their work with that of another practicing artist with whom they are in conversation for their Reciprocity exhibition. Marianne Fairbanks, Associate Professor of Design Studies, and Erica Hess, a 2018 MFA graduate of SoHE, were featured on Lenscratch describing their collaborative relationship that has evolved over time.

Duncan on neuroscience and meditation

Dr. Larissa Duncan, the Elizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child and Family Well-Being and Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, was noted in Greater Good Magazine for her collaboration with Mushim Ikeda, a Buddhist teacher and writer who leads community engagement at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California, to evaluate how neuroscience data and analysis can be more inclusive to better evaluate the effectiveness of contemplative practices like meditation and how meditation can be both healing and traumatizing—depending on people’s lived experiences.

Raison on Shrink Rap Radio podcast

Dr. Charles Raison, the Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Distinguished Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, joined the Shrink Rap Radio podcast recently to discuss psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.


Shin on community design for aging residents

Dr. Jung-hye Shin, Chair of the Design Studies department, is coauthor on a new paper in the Journal of Urban Planning and Development proposing how to identify the ideal distribution of community-based comprehensive service facilities for older adults in response to population aging and greater service needs of older adults in urban areas, specifically by combining the nested ecological model of aging in place as the theoretical foundation with a geographic information system as the methodological tool (GIS-NEMA). The findings indicate that many essential services, particularly health care and places for socialization, are lacking in urban areas when walkability and accessibility to public services are considered. The findings also indicate that the downtown and main factory areas with higher population density have a higher need for developing community-based comprehensive services facilities for older adults. The proposed method shows strong potential for locating service networks and provides useful information for policy development, urban planning, and architectural programming.

Ashton on food safety policy history and economic research opportunities

Foodborne illness ranks seventh globally among major health hazards, falling between air pollution and tuberculosis. Yet food safety is relatively understudied by economists. Dr. Lydia Ashton, Assistant Professor of Consumer Science, is coauthor on a new paper in Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy that provides an introduction to food safety for economists new to the subject. It presents an overview of the problem, the history of major policy reforms, and the structure of food safety governance in the United States and internationally. It also identifies potential opportunities for economists in interdisciplinary food safety research and presents one example of this kind of collaboration, namely research focused on identifying the food sources of U.S. Campylobacter infections.

Raison on inflammatory biomarkers and bipolar depression

Dr. Charles Raison is coauthor on a new paper in Molecular Psychiatry that identified biologically relevant moderators of response among people with bipolar depression to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitor, infliximab. Data were derived from a 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial secondarily evaluating the efficacy of infliximab on a measure of anhedonia (i.e., Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale).

HDFS research at upcoming Gatlinburg Conference

Scholars in SoHE’s Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) department will have at least two posters at the upcoming Gatlinburg Conference in early April, one of the premier conferences for behavioral scientists conducting research in intellectual and developmental disabilities:


“Holistic Healing Within Community: Global Mental Health Perspectives during COVID-19,” with Lori DiPrete Brown

Tuesday, March 30, 8:00-9:00 a.m. CT, Virtual | Hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Global Health Institute, monthly webinars with researchers and practitioners showcase and address the complexity of global health challenges and share their experiences, provide insights into global health, encourage conversation, and connect colleagues locally and globally. Lori DiPrete Brown, Distinguished Faculty Associate of Civil Society and Community Studies, will moderate a webinar on the bio-psycho-social model of holistic healing, used to promote psychological well-being in general and particularly in the midst of a pandemic. Registration and more information can be found here.

“Sacred Work: Science, Religion, and Human Health,” with Dr. Charles Raison

Wednesday, March 31, 12:00-1:30 p.m. CT, Virtual | Hosted by Emory University, Dr. Charles Raison, the Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Distinguished Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, will co-moderate a discussion on the convergences of disciplines in health sciences regarding: human values on health of a person and community, the importance of scientific preparation, and the incorporation of sacred underpinnings to discover and be present to whole person and population health. Registration can be found here.

“Cross Pollination Lecture Series: Jennifer Angus & Dr. Kenneth Cameron”

Thursday, June 3, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT, Virtual | Jennifer Angus, the Audrey Rothermel Bascom Professor in Human Ecology, joined by Dr. Kenneth Cameron, Department Chair, Professor of Botany, and Director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, will host the Cross-Pollination Lectures, a series of conversations between contemporary artists featured in the Orchids: Attraction and Deception exhibition at the Barry Art Museum and botanical experts in the field. Learn more and register here.

Plus, view the full online calendar of SoHE-sponsored events.