Professor of Pediatrics, University of Florida

My research interests and objectives are to link events in the perinatal period (including mother’s pregnancy history and infant’s delivery diagnoses) with subsequent educational performance.

The research methods utilized by our unit include multivariable analysis of medical and socio-demographic effects on school achievement, with early intervention program participation (e.g., WIC, Head Start, Part C) serving as covariates. We are currently performing analyses of very large data sets resulting from the merger of computerized individual records drawn from Florida Vital Statistics, Healthy Start Prenatal and Postnatal Risk Screening, and the Department of Education’s Data Warehouse.

Another area of my research involves evaluating the effectiveness of preschool early intervention programs. In Florida, these programs represent an annual investment of a quarter billion dollars and the state legislature is keenly interested in identifying which programs produce beneficial long-term results. We have received funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S Department of Education, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to answer the following important questions:1) How do different groups of children (cross-classified by social and biological risk) perform on standardized achievement tests, after controlling for initial medical conditions?; 2) What school policies and practices enhance or dilute the cognitive and social skills acquired through participation in prekindergarten school readiness programs?

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Pediatrics , University of Florida