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Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development

Sponsors: the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the Department of Pediatrics, UConn School of Medicine

Sara Harkness, Ph.D., MPH, Director
Charles M. Super, Ph.D., Co-Director


The Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development (CHHD), and its Graduate Certificate Program, were established in 1998 by Chancellor Fred Maryanski, following approval by the UConn Graduate Council and Board of Trustees, in order to promote interdisciplinary scientific collaboration, training, and outreach related to human development and health in cultural context. Following Article XIII of the University's Laws and By-Laws, the Center was reviewed in the fall of 2008 and recommended to the Board of Trustees for a period of five years.

The Center and its programs are directed by Professor Sara Harkness (Director) and Professor Charles M. Super (Co-Director), with advice from the Faculty Coordinating Committee representing the CHHD-affiliated academic units.

A core CHHD activity is its interdisciplinary graduate and faculty seminar, offered annually in the spring semester in coordination with a colloquium series. Leading and emerging researchers from UConn and other universities have presented their current work related to the intersecting concerns of the three CHHD domains. Topics covered in the seminar have included cultural aspects of normative social, emotional, and cognitive development; clinically significant syndromes such as post-partum distress and attention-deficit disorder; and evolutionary and developmental aspects of health and nutrition.

The Graduate Certificate requires completion and presentation of an integrative research project. Several of these student projects have been presented at major scientific meetings in the US and internationally and are being prepared for publication.

The CHHD also serves as a context for interdisciplinary communication and the generation of research collaborations among participating faculty members, as well as the generation of unique training opportunities for advanced graduate and professional students. These efforts have supported in part by funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Science Foundation.