SSW News

Brenda Jones Harden Helps Lead Nationwide Study of Early Childhood Brain Development

October 11, 2021    |  

Jones Harden, BrendaThe University of Maryland has been chosen as one of 25 institutions across the country to implement the HEALthy Brain and Child Development study, a multi-year project that will recruit a diverse cohort of pregnant people and follow them and their children into early childhood.

Brenda Jones Harden, Alison Richman Professor for Children and Families at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the third principal investigator for the UMD project team, will head up recruitment and retention of participants and families through hospitals in the University of Maryland system, as well as other clinics and community-based organizations. A portion of the participants will be women known to be using substances during pregnancy, while some will be from the same communities but with no known substance use, and others will be from different communities with low risk of substance use and other influences such as poverty and trauma.

“I am excited to begin this project with my colleagues at UMD and across the country as it has the potential to contribute to the emerging literature on the cumulative impact of early adversity as well as factors that contribute to resilience in children over time,” said Harden. “Documenting the relationship between the level of adversity and brain and behavioral processes, and considering how this evidence informs child and family policy, are particularly compelling goals of this project.”