The VIP Center of Excellence research core is part of a thriving research community at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
We have a number of completed and in-progress studies, including NIH-funded randomized-controlled trials. All human subjects research is monitored and approved by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine Institutional Review Board.
All of our randomized-controlled trials are single-blind, meaning that research assessments are conducted by researchers with no knowledge of whether participants had received VIP.
Our research has included parent interviews, parent questionnaires, qualitative interviews, child assessments, parent/child observations, video coding, LENA, analysis of hair cortisol, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), and other methodologies.
In addition, our team has developed and validated the STIM-Q, which is a measure of cognitive stimulation that has been used by researchers across the world in 100s of studies.
Smart Beginnings (RCT)
The Pittsburgh Study
VIP in Brazil
City's First Readers
The BELLE Study:
Part 1 (0-3 years): 'BELLE' is an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial of two parent intervention programs: the Video Interaction Project and Building Blocks (BB). Between 2005 and 2008, over 600 mothers and newborns were recruited from the newborn nursery at NYC Health+Hospitals/Bellevue. They were randomized into one of three groups: VIP, Building Blocks, or care as usual (control).
Participants in the VIP group participated in VIP at each pediatric well-visit from birth to age three, and participants in the Building Blocks group participated in Building Blocks at those same ages.
Part 2 (3-5 years): When infants from the VIP and control groups reached three years of age, they were re-randomized to receive VIP from 3 - 5 years of age (VIP 3-5), or to receive care as usual from 3 -5 years of age (Control). This resulted in four study groups: 1) mother/child dyads who participated in continuous VIP from birth to age 5; 2) mother/child dyads who participated in VIP from birth to age 3 only; 3) mother/child dyads who participated in VIP from ages 3 to 5 only; and 4) mother/child dyads who never participated in VIP (control).
Research Assessments: Mother/child dyads have participated in research assessments starting at 6 months of age and continuing every 1-2 years through elementary school. All assessments were done by researchers who were blind to study group. These assessments have included measures of:
Parenting and parent-child interactions
Child development (e.g., cognitive, language, socio-emotional)
School readiness and school achievement
Family well-being (e.g., parenting stress, maternal depression)
Exposure to television and media
Findings: Findings from this study have shown that VIP has strong benefits for both the child and the parent. This includes:
Enhanced parent engagement in reading, play, and verbal interactions with their child [link to article]
In addition, we have found additiveimpacts of VIP 0-3 and VIP 3-5 on parent-child interactions and child development, including:
Enhanced reading, play, and verbal interactions in the home
Reduced behavior problems for preschool children
We continue to study the impacts of VIP on these participants. Ongoing analyses from this study includes:
Videotaped parent-child play interactions
Naturalistic samples of parent-child language interactions
Observations of children’s engagement and behavior in the classroom
Biologic measures of children’s stress
Smart Beginnings is an NIH-funded, multi-site randomized controlled trial that is studying a comprehensive approach to the promotion of school readiness in low-income families through enhancement of positive parenting. Specifically, Smart Beginnings is examining the use of VIP as a universal primary prevention program in combination with a targetedhome-visitation program for higher-risk families (Family Check-Up).
Enrollment for Smart Beginnings began in 2015 for parents of newborns born at Bellevue Hospital Center, with a second cohort of participants enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh.
Assessments of parenting and child development take place at regular intervals during the infant and toddler period through elementary school, with all assessments being done by researchers who are blind to study group.
Findings to date have indicated:
High engagement among families in the Smart Beginnings intervention, with higher participation among first-time parents, parents with lower education, and parents with lower self-efficacy.
Increased reading, teaching, and cognitive stimulation among parents in the Smart Beginnings intervention
This study is being done in collaboration with Dr. Pamela Morris at New York University as well as Dr. Daniel Shaw at the University of Pittsburgh.
SPARRK (Supporting Parents and Raising Resilient Kids)
VIP is delivered at the Hurley Children’s Center in Flint, MI as part of the SPARRK research study. SPARRK (Supporting Parents and Raising Resilient Kids) is a randomized trial studying promotion of school readiness in the context of the community-level stress resulting from the Flint Water Crisis. The study is funded by NIH/NICHD.
Enrollment for SPARRK began in 2019 for parents and newborns, and is continuing. Families will be assessed about once per year during infancy and toddlerhood.
This study is being done in collaboration with Dr. Eric Finegood at Michigan State University.
The Pittsburgh Study
VIP is being offered as part of The Pittsburgh Study. TPS is a community-partnered study that follows children in Allegheny County, PA from birth through high school. The goal of the study is to find the best ways to give children the support they need across childhood so that they are healthy and thriving. TPS identifies strengths in children and families and matches them with interventions that are best suited to meet their needs. The study will then measure health and social influences on child well-being over time. TPS is currently recruiting parents of newborn babies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Clinic Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit their website: https://www.chp.edu/research/pittsburgh-study.
Two cluster RCTs have been performed to study a community-based, parenting group model informed by Reach Out and Read and VIP in two cities in Brazil: in Boa Vista, in the North, and Arcoverde, in the Northeast. The intervention was developed by Dr. Mendelsohn, Dr. Adriana Weisleder, collaborators in the Department of Pediatrics (NYU Grossman School of Medicine) and practitioners and researchers from “Instituto Alfa e Beto”, a Brazilian non-profit organization which develops educational programs in Brazil.
The intervention had two core components:
a book-loan program in which books were available for children to borrow and exchange for new ones on a weekly basis
monthly parent workshops that provided educational support for reading aloud and other opportunities to interact with their children.
In Boa Vista, the intervention was implemented in early child education centers serving low-income preschoolers. Findings from the cluster RCT in Boa Vista have shown positive impacts of the intervention on parenting and on key child outcomes such as self-regulation and others related to language, cognition, and socioemotional development- independent of parents’ literacy level.
In Arcoverde, the program was implemented in community centers and childcare settings and targeted pregnant women and families with children up to 24 months. Preliminary (unpublished) results indicate positive effects of the intervention on parenting outcomes and early child development. Currently, we are adapting VIP and assessing the feasibility of a pilot implementation in healthcare centers in Southern Brazil.
City's First Readers
Since 2014, VIP has become a participant in City’s First Readers (CFR), a city-wide initiative that seeks to close poverty-related gaps in school readiness through building linkages between literacy-promotion programs across multiple platforms, in order to surround children and families with opportunities to build strong foundations in early literacy.
CFR utilizes a number of mechanisms to link programs, including distribution of information through pamphlets and text messages, and engaging in referral across programs (e.g., enrolling families in the NYC public library system during health care visits).
Through a research study in two high-need communities (Bushwick in Brooklyn, Hunts Point in the Bronx) we are studying the extent to which these strategies: 1) increase families’ participation in early-literacy programs, and 2) enhance families’ engagement in reading aloud and play with their young children. To find out more about City’s First Readers, visit www.citysfirstreaders.com
VIP Initial Pilot
Implementation studies of VIP
In addition to studying the efficacy of positive parenting interventions, we are interested in understanding how to best deliver these interventions at scale in a way that maximizes impact, is cost-effective, and reaches families at need.
In 2013, we began offering the Video Interaction Project (VIP) as part of routine pediatric care at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Woodhull Medical Center services primarily low-income families, and VIP is now available in English and Spanish at no cost to all children between birth and 3 years who are receiving well-child care at Woodhull.
This expansion to Woodhull represented the first time that VIP was offered on a clinic-wide scale, and we have been studying factors that affect VIP’s successful implementation and families’ participation and engagement in the program.
Large Scale Initiatives
In addition to the formal research listed above, we engage in ongoing, iterative optimization and quality improvement of VIP, including: - Engaging in needs assessments and piloting - Adapting VIP for new populations and settings - Making programmatic updates and changes to align with new science or feedback