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The goal of the Health and Development Laboratory is to improve the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and young adults, with a special focus on those with a chronic illness or youth facing health challenges. Most of our work is focused on adjustment in youth with sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is a family of genetic blood disorders seen primarily in individuals of African descent. Some disease complications experienced by individuals with SCD include recurrent pain episodes, poor sleep, and poor neurocognitive functioning primarily due to overt and "silent" strokes. Areas of focus for our work with youth with SCD include examining the experiences of and relationship between recurrent pain and sleep, and identifying factors that influence disease self-management and quality of life. We are working on developing a comprehensive bio-psychosocial model of illness adjustment for youth with SCD and plan to use this model to develop effective interventions to improve the daily lives of youth with SCD. 


To see current lab research projects, click here

Valrie lab 2014-r

From left to right: Kay Exum, MA; Kristen Alston, MA; Cecelia Valrie, PhD; Krystal Trout, MA; Rebecca Ladd, MA