Power of Two Continues Community-informed Research as Partner on NIH-funded earlyBIRD Study

Power of Two has always been powered by science and shaped by community, and our newest study continues this tradition. The earlyBIRD (Boosting Infant Resilience and Development) study is a National Institutes of Health- funded research project led by Power of Two co-founder and research partner Dr. Kristin Bernard and her team from Stony Brook University. The multi-year study, which was initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to test the continued effectiveness of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) parent coaching program that Power of Two provides for families and communities in Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. In partnership with our families, Dr. Bernard and her team hope to discover whether abbreviating the 10-week program can lead to positive impacts for families- including increasing parental sensitivity, a key ingredient for supporting young children’s healthy brain development, socioemotional regulation, and learning skills. The study follows a “precision medicine” hypothesis, researching the impacts of ABC dosage amount and whether it can meet the needs of individual families while maintaining effectiveness of the program.

Associate Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University, Dr. Kristin Bernard

We spoke briefly with Dr. Bernard to get her insights on earlyBIRD:

What was the impetus for earlyBIRD? Why did the team start to look at these questions?

Dr. Bernard: As evidence-based interventions like ABC are moved into the world, it is critical to know that they remain effective. The earlyBIRD study will help us have confidence in ABC’s effectiveness when implemented within a community context. It is also important to consider that 10 sessions of ABC may not be what all families need. We have promising preliminary evidence that a lot of change in sensitive parenting happens in the first several sessions, which means that some families might benefit from a shorter dosage of ABC. The earlyBIRD study will do just that– test out different dosages and try to understand who needs what.

What are you most excited about for the study?

Dr. Bernard: The earlyBIRD study feels like a true partnership between our research team and our community team. We have continued to make sure that science informs our programming at Power of Two, and the earlyBIRD study is an example of how our community-facing team can also inform our science.

What implications for families and our community does this study have?

Dr. Bernard: If we learn that some families benefit from a brief 3-session dosage of ABC, that will allow us to reach more families in a way that is more efficient and cost-effective. Results from this study can inform our approach to scaling ABC in ways that are best matched to families’ needs.