Adoptees as Parents

Our collaborator Dr. JaeRan Kim at University of Washington-Tacoma gave this great lightening presentation on our qualitative study of adoptees as parents.

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It’s an annual tradition for the familee lab to eat out at a Korean restaurant whenever at a conference. This one did not disappoint. The food at Hobak in Las Vegas was amazing.

 

Research and RA Updates

If you are interested in learning more about our current research, click the Research tab above. It’s been updated with the latest projects and which ones are currently collecting data.

And if you are an undergraduate student who wants to join the lab, click on the Join tab above as it provides detailed information on what is required as a member of the lab – whether you are registering for PSY5993, major projects, or honors thesis. Or just wanting to volunteer in the lab.

CITI (IRB) Training

CITI TRAINING

The instructions for how to do CITI training are below.

CITI Training: This can be found on: https://www.citiprogram.org. You’ll be prompted to register for an account. Make sure you list the University of Minnesota as your organization. Complete the section that’s for “Social / Behavioral or Humanist Research Investigators and Key Personnel.

HIPAA (Data Privacy) Training

Data Privacy and Security Training for UM Psychology

How to Create Your ULearn Account & Register for Courses

  1. Go to the ULearn registration page and input information.
    https://umn.csod.com/selfreg/register.aspx?c=it-training

If you already have a UM x500, click on “Login Here” at the bottom of the form.

  1. Use search bar in the upper right corner to search for the required courses:

(PJPD16) University Information Security Awareness Training
(HIPAA16) HIPAA Training

  1. Select the required course
  2. Select Request

Familee Lab RA Expectations

My graduate student, Christine Wu, created this excellent document which outlines the role and responsibilities of undergraduate research assistants working in our lab.

Research Assistant Responsibilities and Guidelines

Philosophy on Undergraduate Research Assistants

I view RA-ships as apprenticeships where students have the opportunity to gain basic research experience and skills. Most undergraduate RA positions in psychology operate on a volunteer or class-credit basis, and only a few positions operate on a paid or work-study basis (which may be different from other disciplines). While I am unable to offer paid positions, I expect RAs to treat research with the same amount of responsibility or commitment that they would approach class, a job/internship, or student leadership position. In exchange for students’ time and effort, I strive to train RAs in basic research methods and skills (e.g., literature searches, EndNote, basic data analysis) and provide mentorship in their professional and research development.

Students who demonstrate interest, motivation, and responsibility with research duties will be encouraged to pursue opportunities such as an independent project or honors thesis. Students will also be encouraged to apply for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) where they may receive a scholarship and/or a small of amount of funding for research expenses.

Expectations of the Research Assistant

Communication

  • You are encouraged to contact your supervisor at any point and ask for clarification if you do not understand a task or have questions. supervisor if you have questions or need clarification.
  • Send your supervisor an update email every Friday with the following information:
    • Summary of work for the past week (ex: “Looked for articles on topic ______”)
    • Any comments, reactions, thoughts you have about the work you did (e.g., any articles or topics that piqued your interest; topics that you might want to explore further)
    • Summary of hours worked for the past week (e.g., “Week of 11/15, 4 hours)
    • Questions/issues
    • Next steps (if applicable)
  • Read all emails received from the research team/supervisor and, when requested, respond in a timely fashion (i.e., within 2 business days)
  • Notify supervisor in advance of busy weeks where you will not be able to put as much time into research activities

Work Responsibilities

  • Commit to two consecutive semesters working in the lab
  • Complete online IRB and HIPAA training
  • Commit to spend 5-8 hours per week on research activities. The specific time per week will vary based on the tasks assigned and where we are in the semester. Some weeks you may spend more time on research and some weeks you may spend less time, but it will average out to 5-8 hours per week over the whole semester. You are encouraged to communicate with your supervisor in advance of weeks where other commitments may limit the time you have available to spend on research
  • Complete all work given in a diligent manner, double checking for mistakes especially for tasks involving data entry, participant information, and IRB documentations
  • Keep an accurate record of time and work completed using the tracking sheet

Data Security and Professionalism

  • Act in accordance with policies such as the Data Protection Act; for example, keeping data confidential and stored appropriately, as you have been instructed by the supervisor
  • Keep both hard and electronic copy of the project study materials within the lab unless you get the permission from your supervisor to take it outside of the lab
  • Act in a professional manner towards participants, supervisors, lab members, and collaborators at all times. This includes interpersonal interactions as well as email communication.

Scheduling & Location of Research Activities

  • Due to the nature of our current research, RA schedules are flexible. I do not assign specific “shifts” where RAs are expected to be in the lab. Thus, RAs are responsible for managing their own schedules to complete research tasks, tracking the time spent on research tasks, and reporting the time to their supervisor on a weekly basis. Some research activities (e.g., lit searches) can be done on the RA’s personal computer, whereas other activities (e.g., data management, transcribing) require use of the lab space. RAs are responsible for reserving lab space when necessary (see next section) and arranging their schedules so they can access the lab during Elliott Hall’s regular building hours.
  • The flexible schedule of lab work and lack of direct supervision means that RAs are expected to be able to work independently with minimal direction, supervision, or structure. RAs are expected to be proactive in communicating with their supervisors when questions/issues arise and set up meetings with supervisors when in-person instruction or supervision is needed.

If using the lab space (N583/S466) to work on research projects:

  • Reserve the room in advance using the lab Google Calendar
  • Use the space only for research-related activities
  • Maintain the security of the lab space by logging off computers at the end of session and locking doors whenever you have to leave the room (i.e., to use the restroom)
  • Do not share the lockbox code with non-lab personnel

When enrolled in PSY 5993:

  • Attend and participate actively in weekly 2-hour research lab meetings (schedule permitting)
  • Attend and participate actively in weekly 1-hour reading group meetings
  • Submit a 5-10 page research review paper at the end of the semester

Responsibilities held by the supervisor

  • Meet with the RA regularly/as needed to supervise them on tasks and answer any questions
  • Provide adequate support and training to the RA
  • Be available for questions via email and respond to emails in a timely fashion (i.e., within 2 business days)
  • Promote open discussion of any difficulties with the tasks, and an honest relationship between the RA and the rest of the team
  • Spot check RA’s work for accuracy and quality
  • Provide mentorship regarding professional development and career goals

What happens if either party are not upholding their responsibilities

It is imperative that the work within the lab meets certain standards of quality, accuracy and professionalism at all times. As a result of this, there are consequences if a research assistant is considered to be performing below expectations as outlined above.

If an RA is worried that they are not upholding their responsibilities, and they are encountering difficulties, they are encouraged to discuss this with the supervisor in an open fashion. If the supervisor feels that the RA is not meeting their responsibilities, they are encouraged to ask the RA if they require any additional support in order to assist them in meeting these standards. If the RA continues to perform below the expected standards and the quality of the research in the lab is being negatively affected, then a member of the lab team will discuss this with the RA further, with one possible consequence being that their assistance in the lab may no longer be required. Keep in mind that professors and supervisors write recommendation letters for internships, jobs, and graduate/professional school applications. In addition, when students apply for positions in other labs, faculty often contact their previous research supervisors for input.

 

 

 

Can We Reduce Stigma in Mental Health?

I was fortunate to participate in a panel discussion at the University on how to reduce stigma in mental health. It is part of their ongoing Big Questions series in collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio. I had a fun time and I think lots of important issues were raised. I believe the podcast (News with Tom Weber) will be available to listen here

INTRODUCTION
The stigma associated with mental health issues can prevent people from accessing the help they need. As part of the ongoing Big Questions series at the University of Minnesota, four panelists met on Dec. 5th to discuss with host Tom Weber ways to move beyond stigma in mental health.
Panelists:
  • Victoria Blakeborough, University of Minnesota senior, student advisor and past president of Active Minds, a student group at the University of Minnesota working to raise mental health awareness
  • Glenn Hirsch, psychologist and director of Student Counseling Services at the University of Minnesota
  • Richard Lee, professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota
  • Abeer Syedah, student body president at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and a senior studying political science, gender studies, and sociology