iRT Receives NICHD Award to Develop Mindfulness Education Program

Durham, NC, June 10, 2014—innovation Research & Training (iRT), a behavioral sciences research company, today announced receipt of a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to create and evaluate a mindfulness-based coping program for high school students.

Mindfulness is conceptualized as being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present moment. As part of the Phase I SBIR, the iRT research team will develop a universal, evidence-based mindfulness program to educate students about the impact of stress on the mind and body, as well as new ways to cope with everyday stressors.

“There is growing evidence that integrating mindfulness into the classroom may have many benefits for students. In our research with younger populations, mindfulness training in elementary and middle school classrooms has been associated with improvements in students’ cognitive and social-emotional abilities. We anticipate seeing similar positive outcomes with high school students in this current project,” said Dr. Alison Parker, research scientist at iRT.

iRT scientists will collaborate with consultants who are experts in mindfulness, yoga, stress, and coping, as well as high school teachers and students, in the development of the program. Designed to be implemented by teachers daily in the classroom, the program will include teacher-led classroom activities and online resources available across a range of mobile and non-mobile devices, including personal computers and tablets.

The program will include various activities such as mindful breathing, mindful movements, and mindful journeys. Students will also learn how to apply these mindfulness skills to their everyday lives and learn how academic and social stressors may negatively impact their bodies and minds. Students will access resources on the program’s website to continue their mindfulness practice at home.

“We believe that the results of this Phase I SBIR have the potential to make a substantial and sustained impact on the field of adolescent stress and coping, as well as mindfulness education,” said Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, senior research scientist and president of iRT.

About innovation Research & Training
innovation Research & Training (iRT) is a behavioral sciences research company committed to identifying and solving significant real-world problems facing children, families, communities, and organizations. By using evidence-based and culturally sensitive methods, iRT researchers investigate, develop and evaluate behavioral, educational, psychological, social, and community assessment, prevention and treatment programs and services. iRT’s staff includes experts in basic and applied research in a wide variety of areas, including substance abuse prevention and treatment, youth mentoring, social and emotional development, mindfulness education, media literacy education, pregnancy prevention and sexual health, child and adolescent mental health, adult and juvenile justice programs, drug courts, drugged driving, tobacco use and underage drinking. For more information about iRT, visit

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