The goal of the Families, Communities, and Health Workshop is to provide a forum where graduate students and faculty can gather to collaborate with each other on research papers that use longitudinal data to test models focusing on parent-child and marital interaction, deviant behavior and mental health, neighborhood conditions, school involvement, peer affiliation, romantic relationships, and physical health. Most papers utilize data collected as part of the Families and Communities Health Study (FACHS) or the Iowa Youth and Families Project (IYFP). Both FACHS and IYFP consist of decades of information collected on several hundred parents and their children. The children in both studies are now adults and the parents are entering their senior years. Study variables were measured using observational, survey, and GIS data. Recent waves of data collection have also included an assessment of health risk factors such as blood pressure BMI as well as blood draws to assess inflammation, blood sugar, and speed of biological aging. These projects are ongoing and have been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Students and faculty with common interests identify papers that they would like to pursue together. The workgroup then serves as a medium where the authors can present and get constructive feedback regarding their theoretical model, measures, findings, and form of the manuscript. The basic philosophy of the group is that research is always better when it involves collaboration.