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Blakely Center Wins $1.17 Million Grant

UCR's Blakely Center Wins $1.17 Million Grant

The NICHD award, the largest ever for the center, will fund a study of cultural differences that affect child supervision.

(April 18, 2007)

Juliet M. McMullin

Juliet M. McMullin

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( - The Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at UC Riverside won a $1.17 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study the cultural differences, approaches and concepts regarding appropriate supervision of children to prevent injury in the home and community.

It is the largest grant ever awarded to the center, which was established in 2003 to study all issues related to the growth and development of suburbs around the world. The center was founded with a $2 million initial gift from Ali Sahabi, president of SE Corp.

The NICHD is one of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

The four-year study, led by Assistant Professor Juliet M. McMullin of the Department of Anthropology, will use the combined approaches and methods of anthropology, injury epidemiology and observational research to explore concepts and behaviors regarding supervision for injury prevention. The study begins this month and ends Jan. 31, 2011.

“Supervision is generally considered one of the strongest, yet least understood, protective factors against many types of home and community injuries,” McMullin said. “The absence of supervision has frequently been cited as a contributing factor for childhood injury. Yet, it is unclear what this concept means to the health professionals who recommend supervision as an injury prevention strategy or to parents who must implement the strategies,” she said.

Among other things, the study will seek to explain findings from recent studies which have noted lower rates of pediatric injury among Latino children compared to non-Latino Whites.

“Considering the current lack of understanding of what constitutes effective supervision for preventing injury, it is vital that we define cultural models to lay a foundation for enhancing supervision as an injury prevention strategy,” McMullin said.

NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

McMullin specializes in medical anthropology with an emphasis in health inequalities and the interaction between concepts of health and cultural identity. The central focus of her research is understanding how the pursuit of health, as both a highly individual practice and as embedded in the particulars of history and social structure, influences cultural identity.

She has conducted research with physicians, Latinas and Pacific Islanders on their health practices, and understandings of cancer prevention and survivorship. She received her Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of California, Irvine and holds a concurrent position with the Department of Medicine at UCI.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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