Society

Society: Understanding Human Nature and Behavior

Like Mother, Like Child

One in nine new moms struggle with depression — but single moms, immigrants, and those in low socioeconomic situations are even more susceptible. And their children, whose brains triple in size and make nearly 1,000 nerve connections in the first three years of their life, are directly affected. To combat this, UNC nurse scientist Linda Beeber has spent the past two decades developing mental health interventions that treat both the mother and the child as a unit, called the “dyad.”

Cleo Samuel

Cleo Samuel is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on improving the equity and quality of supportive cancer care — such as care that optimizes comfort, function, social support, and overall quality of life — through the use of health informatics tools that address systemic barriers to care.

A Massage for Your Brain

A series of studies by one research group in Oregon reported that, on average, children move one full level down the autism spectrum after 20 weeks of Qigong Sensory Training (QST) — a type of massage therapy adapted from Traditional Chinese Medicine. UNC postdoc Kristin Jerger found these results so intriguing that she has published a feasibility study for a new line of research on the neural mechanisms of QST massage.

Decoding Dorothea Dix Hospital

Can the creation of a new park be influenced by a centuries-old mental hospital? The City of Raleigh has tasked UNC Community Histories Workshop researchers with merging the past and the future at Dorothea Dix Park.

Teresa Zhou

Teresa Zhou is a PhD student in the Department of Economics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She is a recent recipient of a 2018 Impact Award from The Graduate School. Her research focuses on the policies that are most effective in attracting and retaining physicians in underserved and rural areas, and how changes in physician supply affect patient welfare in the United States.

Frances Reuland

Graduating senior Frances Reuland is a research assistant at The Water Institute. She is majoring in environmental sciences and Spanish, with a minor in chemistry within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She also plays on the varsity women’s soccer team. Her research focuses on how inadequate energy affects environmental health conditions and facility operations within Malawian healthcare systems.

Different Disorders, Similar Stigma

People with autism are twice as likely to use drugs and alcohol than someone without the disorder — a statistic that most people are unaware of. To educate the public on this topic, UNC autism professional Ann Palmer and addiction specialist Elizabeth Kunreuther teamed up to write a book: “Drinking, Drug Use, and Addiction in the Autism Community.”

Tonya VanDeinse

Tonya VanDeinse is a clinical assistant professor within the UNC School of Social Work. Her research focuses on how to improve mental health and criminal justice outcomes for adults diagnosed with both mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The Kids Are Not Alright

Even though more than 1.4 million American children under the age of 18 care for siblings or parents who have a chronic illness or disability, support for this demographic is in short supply. UNC geographer Elizabeth Olson and collaborators look to other countries as models for growing youth caregiver resources in the United States.