HSHP experts helping create healthy marriage resource center
HSHP experts helping create healthy marriage resource centerJanuary 12, 2005Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
About 90 percent of Americans will marry at least once. Research indicates that healthy marriage benefits people in a number of ways, including having a higher standard of living and better health. But experts are still trying to understand how couples can achieve a healthy and lasting marriage.
If you’re a marriage therapist, or someone trying to put together a program for marriage enrichment, where do you turn to find out about the latest research and most successful programs? Until now, you would have thumbed through the most recent research journals and a plethora of Web sites, each touting its own approach. Starting this month, though, professionals in the marriage field will be able to find information on healthy marriages from many sources gathered together on the Web site of the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. A team from SU’s College of Human Services and Health Professions (HSHP) is helping to create the site and gather and evaluate the information to be featured there.
SU, together with four other universities and a Washington-based organization called Child Trends, are working to develop the resource center under the lead of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). NCFR received a five-year grant of $900,000 for the project from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The other universities involved are the University of Minnesota, Norfolk State University, Brigham Young University and Texas Tech University.
Alan Taylor, assistant professor in HSHP’s child and family studies department, heads SU’s part of the project. “There are programs that make a difference in whether marriages thrive,” he says. “We will evaluate the evidence and see which ones seem to help. Right now, a lot of programs are not evaluated at all.”
Other SU faculty members working on the project include Ambika Krishnakumar, Norma Burgess and Robert Moreno from child and family studies; and Mona Mittal and Jonathan Sandberg from marriage and family therapy, all in HSHP. Two other faculty members will be added later.
SU’s researchers will develop tool kits for practitioners to use to evaluate the effectiveness of programs. “We will also be looking at best fit and best practice models,” Taylor says. “This will help practitioners to find the right program for their community.”
“The Healthy Marriage Resource Center will serve as the central clearinghouse for President Bush’s ongoing initiative to strengthen families through access to voluntary healthy marriage education,” says Wade F. Horn, HHS assistant secretary for children and families. “Through research, statistics and analysis, it will help couples and individuals considering marriage get helpful information about how to form and sustain a healthy marriage.”