Congratulations to Erika London Bocknek, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Women and Infants Mental Health Program in the Department of Psychiatry, who is the 2012 recipient of the Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award. These awards are designed to further the work of outstanding young researchers working in childhood anxiety and depression.
Dr. Bocknek’s research focuses on emotion regulation in toddlerhood, an important early precursor of later mental health problems, in the context of trauma and disruptions in primary relationships, particularly among multi-stressed families. Dr. Bocknek currently collaborates on multiple federally funded as well as privately funded research projects, including her role as a consortium member of the U.S. Administration for Children and Families National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Study. At U-M, Dr. Bocknek collaborates on a longitudinal investigation of maternal postpartum psychopathology and related outcomes for young children (Maternal Anxiety During the Childbearing Years or “MACY;” PI: Maria Muzik) and provides research support for the Parent-Child Relational Clinic, developing an infant/early childhood assessment core. As a Women and Infants Mental Health fellow, Dr. Bocknek is currently collaborating with colleagues and expanding her work to include a focus on the biomarkers and gene X environment interactions of mental health problems.
Dr. Bocknek is also newly becoming involved in a project to build effective outreach and support for military families with young children following deployment (STRoNG Families; PI: Kate Rosenblum). The Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award will support her work on this project as she investigates the relationships between the quality of triadic interactions and young children’s regulatory outcomes amidst the disrupted family patterns common to military families. Findings from this work will inform interventions with the many young children and their families impacted by parental military leave, seeking to improve later mental health outcomes for this population via high-quality early intervention.
Dr. Bocknek has long been engaged with the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH), previously serving on the board and currently co-chairing the biennial conference. In 2009, MI-AIMH awarded Dr. Bocknek the first-ever Hiram Fitzgerald Emerging Scholar Award.