Health and Well-Being


  • Inform the development of community-based Extension programs that promote health and well-being among low-income families, with particular focus on rural families and Latino immigrant families.
  • Use biomarkers to point to what really matters: the child’s family and social environment.The overarching model is that biomarkers will adapt to meet the demands of the environment, but that process of adaptation isnot necessarily desirable from a public health perspective.
  • Examine the impact of individual and environmental factors on such outcomes as depression, drug use, and criminal behavior of the parents and the children.
  • Lessen and prevent interpersonal violence, aggression, and family conflict.
  • Understand child and family health risks and the public services designed to address them.

Research Projects

  • Exploring Iowa communities and rural communities throughout the U.S. Research predominantly involves primary data collection from families (adults and youth) or community organizations.
  • Focusing on understanding successful emotional development using contextual (family, community),bio-behavioral(psychophysiological, neuroendocrine, neuroanatomical), and cognitive-developmental (memory, judgement) models. Current projects are aimed at predicting emotional dysfunction versus and resiliency following severe and traumatic stress and a wide range of translational intervention and prevention programs.
  • Using advanced methodological and statistical techniques to inform the basic science of emotional development and translate that science into prevention, intervention, and other real-world applications.
  • Focusing on biobehavioral mechanisms that illustrate the profound impact of a child’s early environment on their physiology, well-being, health, and development. Researchers in my Stress Physiology Investigative Team (SPIT) Laboratory collect biomarkers noninvasively –using autonomic sensors, salivary biomarkers or novel assays in hair. This research is developmental, focused on adolescence, specifically how the process of puberty is critical for setting the stage for lifespan development.
  • 20-year longitudinal study of over 800 African-American families in Iowa & Georgia. Major focus is on how neighborhood characteristics affect the health and well-being of the parents and children
  • Developing, testing, and disseminating evidence-based interventions for the treatment and prevention of intimate partner violence/family violence/domestic violence.
  • Conducting community and statewide needs assessments that document health disparities, equity in access to services, and disproportionate health risks to inform strategic planning with a particular focus on young children and their families.

Area Faculty Interests

Kimberly Greder, family well-being, family health, rural, low-income, immigrant, food security, mental health, social support, community-based, and intervention.

Heather Rouse, early childhood and family well-being, rural health disparities, connections and disconnections for families with public health service systems

Daniel Russell, African-American families, neighborhood factors, depression, and drug and alcohol use.

Carl Weems, post-traumatic stress, adverse childhood experience, brain development, interventions, emotional development, and prevention.

Amie Zarling, treatment of domestic violence, evidence-based interventions, and batterers intervention programs.

Amy Popillion

Related Laboratories, Programs, Centers

CAR Laboratory

Iowa’s Integrated Data System for Decision-Making (I2D2)

SPIT Laboratory

U-TuRN: Translational Research Network

Need More Information?

Alex Rogers

Graduate Program Assistant

2330E Palmer Building
2222 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1084