Photograph of 7 children dancing while in a preschool play area.

Children today are facing unprecedented and largely unrecognized challenges in a rapidly changing ecosystem. Unfortunately, traditional existing interventions are not sufficient to address them. We need to rethink our approach and transform outdated and ineffectual systems.

Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the Life Course Intervention Research Network (LCIRN) is a collaborative research and learning network designed to bring together a diverse group of researchers, health care providers, and family/community stakeholders to develop and promote disruptive and transformational changes to the ways we improve health outcomes over the life span. Applying the life course health development framework, the LCIRN will support researchers to identify opportunities for developing, implementing, and evaluating new approaches to optimize children’s health development trajectories, with an emphasis on reducing health disparities among under-served and vulnerable populations.

A National Coordinating Center for the network is located at UCLA. Investigators at partner institutions lead topic-specific research nodes made up of a diverse group of experts from the country’s top research institutions and maternal and child health stakeholder groups.

How is it different from the LCRN?

For those who have been part of the LCRN, you may be wondering how the LCIRN is different! In many ways, it is a natural follow-on to the work that we have been doing for the past decade, but with a leveling up. Going beyond understanding the mechanisms of life course health development, the LCIRN will incubate research on effective ways to intervene at key points in development, at the most appropriate social level, in order to have optimal impacts.



Our primary objectives are to

  1. Identify research priorities: Develop a national agenda of research priorities designed to identify when, where and how to intervene to promote health development over the life course
  2. Build the field: Build research capacity in the field and improve capacity to pursue the national research agenda by supporting research nodes to collaborate, develop, and implement research in key areas
  3. Accelerate the translation of research into practice and policy: build a transdisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and other stakeholders, support their collaboration, and ensure the timely dissemination of information and resources.
  4. Train the next generation: Expand the number of researchers, especially early career, who are capable of and committed to using a life course perspective to transform systems and improve outcomes.

What We’ve Accomplished

The LCIRN annual meeting (held Nov 7-8, 2019) brought together around 30 members to advance the LCIRN objectives.

  • We created a dynamic systems map that lays the foundations for children’s thriving. This systems map, along with a literature review and other foundational work, informed the development of a life course intervention research agenda (in process).
  • Researchers with common interests met to establish collaborative working groups (research nodes), focused on specific issues or influences on life course health development and/ or developing methodologies.  Our current nodes are:
    • School Health – led by Mitch Wong and Rebecca Dudovitz, UCLA
    • Adversity, Adaptation, and Resilience – led by Adam Schickedanz, UCLA
    • Family Health Development – led by Mark Feinberg, Penn State
    • Family Measurement – led by Shari Barkin, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    • Youth-Engaged Research – led by Emily Ozer and Marieka Schotland, UC Berkeley
    • Early Childhood Mental Health – led by Steve Buka, Brown University
  • Through these nodes, the network has already submitted a number of grant proposals.
    • Funded
      • Feinberg (Penn State) / Hock (Univ. South Carolina) (mPI) NIH/NICHD – Test of an Innovative, Scalable Support Program for Parents with a Young Child Recently Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
      • Feinberg (Penn State) Penn State seed grant – Measuring impacts of COVID-19 on family development
      • Kuo (UCLA): Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health
    • Pending
      • Feinberg, Lee (Penn State), Hotez (UCLA) NIH – Family Foundations Adaptation for Developmental Disabilities
      • Biel, Coates (Georgetown) NIMH – Using family peer support in early education settings as an implementation strategy to enhance delivery of multi-generational evidence-based mental health intervention
      • Dudovitz (UCLA) NIDA – Impact of AVID on teen substance use
      • Dudovitz (UCLA) NICHD/California Bureau of Cannabis Control – Development of an adolescent vital sign for behavioral health problems
  • We also funded 5 pilot projects as part of our research incubator. Read more about those soon!

What's Next

In the coming months, we will be working with the network steering committee to finalize the life course intervention research agenda. We will also be developing trainings for network members on priority topics and cultivating a new generation of LCI researchers through a scholars’ program.

Finally, we’ll be accelerating the timely translation of LCI research. You’ll be hearing from us regularly with newsletters, webinars, resources, and spotlights on the exciting work that’s happening around the US and the world.