Experiences such as homelessness, poverty, and household dysfunction can have a significant impact on a child’s wellbeing—affecting everything from school performance and relationships to risk for chemical dependency.
Pediatrics faculty member and Masonic Early Investigator Andy Barnes, M.D., M.P.H., is dedicated to finding ways to improve the wellbeing and resilience of children affected by severe adversity.
Barnes is especially enthusiastic about a program his team developed to help children experiencing family homelessness get better sleep at night. The program empowers parents to develop healthy sleep routines for their families that include mindfulness, relaxation, and mental imagery techniques.
So far, Barnes has tested the sleep program with 11 families living in transitional housing. After observing its benefits for parents and children alike, his next step is to expand tests to a larger, more diverse group of youth over longer periods of time.
Barnes says that his work would not be where it is today without the support of the Masons.
“Masonic support means the breathing room to make new discoveries, work with partners in the community, and conduct research that leads to better health for kids.”