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The National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NIH F31 NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship provides funding for “promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers.”

Tommy Chou, a recent NRSA recipient from the Department of Psychology, is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Science Ph.D. Program whose work focuses on infusing the natural environments and routines of children and families with content and strategies that promote mental health and wellness. He is currently working under the mentorship of Dr. Stacy Frazier and is a part of her team, NAFASI, which focuses on partnering with community organizations to support and promote the use of evidence-based practices in children’s natural settings – particularly in neighborhoods characterized by poverty.

Tommy’s NRSA proposal and dissertation uses a social marketing research model to develop and refine a children’s book designed to guide and enhance parent-preschooler book reading with content about emotions. His research aims to extend past literature that shows

(1) a positive relationship between parent labeling and explanation of emotions during storybook reading with children at age 3.5, and children’s social emotional development at age 5

(2) knowledge acquisition and generalization through activities directing children to engage in social and cognitive narrative content following book reading

(3) benefits of dialogic reading strategies in encouraging parent-child discourse during PPBR to enhance learning.

He is partnering with organizations and parents in Liberty City to obtain feedback towards his book’s design, and will be evaluating its promise as a naturally occurring, intrinsically beneficial, and low resource home routine to promote positive socio-emotional development.

Tommy Chou contributed to this article.