The Nurture Science Program at Columbia University Medical Center is a unique research program rooted in a new, evidence-based understanding of the critical role emotional connection plays in healthy child development.
Our multidisciplinary team is committed to rigorous research, and continues to develop and test nurture-based therapies that support emotional connection to help children and families address, and even avoid, emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges.
What We Hope to Achieve
Millions of children suffer from emotional, behavioral, and developmental disorders that can be addressed or prevented. Current treatment strategies often are not effective. The Nurture Science Program’s work can help children and their families.
Over the past 10 years, the Nurture Science Program has amassed considerable evidence to support interventions that advance the child-family emotional connection that is critical to healthy child development. Imagine the possibilities when all children and families have this kind of support.
At the Nurture Science Program, we use sensory activities to help moms and babies connect to each other. One of our go-tos is Kangaroo Care. But we’ve also added an element called Emotional Expression, which is key to fostering an autonomic emotional connection, which significantly improves outcomes for babies and supports parents’ health and resilience.
Through Family Nurture Intervention (FNI), the Nurture Science Program has developed a way to help connect moms and babies. And one of the most rewarding results from our study of FNI was that moms felt less depressed and anxious, and more confident caring for their babies.
Smell plays a pivotal role in relationships. For mothers and babies, smell is a large part of how they recognize each other, and form a deep emotional connection. When a mother’s sense of smell has been altered, it is vital to foster that connection through her other senses.
Over the course of this extraordinarily difficult and scary year, masks have saved countless lives. While masks will continue to protect us from the virus, they also pose some challenges to emotional connection between babies and mothers. Luckily, those challenges can be overcome.