Human Development and Family Studies News


Child Development Laboratory preschoolers design banner and march in MSU’s commemorative walk to honor great social justice leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.!  The children’s banner and plans to walk were organized by head teacher, Nora Thompson.  The commemorative walk starts on January 18, 2016 at the MSU Union at 3:15 p.m. and ends at the MSU Administration Building at 4:15 p.m.  Please join us and the children!


Following Dr. Julia Miller’s tremendous accomplishments as professor, dean and citizen at Michigan State University and in the surrounding community, Dr. Miller is serving in a prestigious consultant position with the U.S. White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  Dr. Miller is working with colleagues, agencies and the Initiative staff related to research opportunities, access and outcomes of HBCUs from federal agencies and organizations and engaging in initiatives that highlight STEM  programs.  The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was established “to overcome the effects of social injustices, and to strengthen, expand and support the capacity of historically Black Colleges and Universities to continue providing quality education.”

Dr. Andrea Wittenborn, associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies, makes headlines for developing the field’s first comprehensive systems model describing the myriad drivers of depression—a condition affecting 350 million people worldwide.  Through funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Wittenborn and her colleague, Dr. Hazhir Rahmandad of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, analyzed more than 600 articles on drivers of depression and included them in a complex systems model that diagrams how various drivers affect each other.  Some of the depression-related drivers Drs. Wittenborn and Rahmandad included in the model were sleep problems, social isolation and brain inflammation.  The new model holds significant promise for impacting a condition that is debilitating for people across the globe.


Link to story:


Link to Dr. Wittenborn’s interview with Channel 10:




How do we change the world?

In an era of heightened national focus on issues of social justice and race relations, HDFS Professor Dr. Deborah Johnson leads critical research on racial socialization and racial identity.

Dr. Johnson was funded by MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives to evaluate college women’s perceptions of their racial/ethnic identity and their college experiences through parental socialization processes. Dr. Johnson continues administrative focus on issues of racial and gender equity among MSU faculty in her appointment in MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.


Holly Brophy-Herb, HDFS Professor, wins Key Partner Award from Michigan State University’s Extension Office for her rigor, excellence and steadfast commitment to partnering with Extension to translate cutting-edge research to meaningful implementation with individuals, families and communities in greatest need across Michigan. 

In the words of Carrie Shrier, “Holly exemplifies the concept of bringing knowledge to life.  She truly brings her research on campus to the communities and throughout Michigan.  She’s been excited and interested in partnering with Extension to author grants, to help bring the programming out the communities; she sought out Extension when those opportunities have arisen; she’s worked closely with us to make sure we’re delivering quality programming to the communities.”  Link to video award: