The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development (MCCHD), housed in the School of Public Health, is one of the six university-level research centers (URCs) and the only non-bench science URC at Georgia State University. Our focus is on evidence-based parenting programs, preventing and addressing child developmental delays, child maltreatment, and sexual assault, building social-emotional competencies, and promoting meaningful inclusion and quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The nexus of our work is fostering social ecologies that promote healthy development and well-being through positive developmental and behavioral supports at home and across multiple community-based systems of care (e.g., school, hospital, child welfare, early intervention). Our faculty develop, study, and bring to scale real-world implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs).

Our research and outreach work are characterized by interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral partnerships that optimize public health outcomes by:

  • Reducing disparities through access to EBPs beginning in infancy and continuing through transition to adulthood and parenting
  • Building capacity and practices (of parents, caregivers, family members, educators, and diverse discipline practitioners) to promote health, safety, and social-emotional competencies
  • Focusing on robust two generation approaches that target parent well-being and child outcomes
  • Preventing and addressing child maltreatment, sexual assaultEnhancing systemic workforce capacities to promote health, development, social-emotional well-being, meaningful inclusion, and quality of life
  • Improving access to and facility with systems of care data so that interdisciplinary teams engage ineffective data-based intervention planning and monitoring
  • Capitalizing on early life development and learning to optimize lifelong health MCH outcomes

Our faculty span the disciplines of public health, educational psychology, school psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. In support of the next generation, we engage more than 100 students across 13 departments in interdisciplinary research, applied practice, and evidence-based outreach activities.

The MCCHD is home to the following:

  • Center for Leadership in Disability, translating research into sustainable community practices that contribute to independent, self-determined, inclusive and productive lives for people with disabilities and their families
  • Georgia Association for Infant Mental Health: Birth to Five (GA-AIMH), building culturally responsive preventive and therapeutic professional capacities to promote family, infant, and early childhood mental health development
  • National SafeCare Training and Research Center, which provides training and implementation support nationally and internationally for the SafeCare© model, an evidence- based parenting program that has been shown to reduce child maltreatment among families with a history for maltreatment or with risk factors for maltreatment
  • National Center on Child Trafficking, funded by SAMHSA as part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, is a collaboration of professionals with expertise in child trauma and trafficking who use a science-driven approach to guide the development, adaptation, implementation, and evaluation, of interventions and resources to improve for the lives of youth and families impacted by sex and labor trafficking
  • National Center for Sexual Violence Prevention, a national center striving to prevent sexual violence and interrelated behaviors through research, evidence-based interventions, community-relevant tools, and public health education. Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, focused on changing the way the nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.