Family Translational Research Group

"Translational research in the behavioral and social sciences addresses how basic behavioral processes inform the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and delivery of services for mental illness, and, conversely, how knowledge of mental illness increases our understanding of basic behavioral processes."

The Family Translational Research Group studies the mechanisms through which individual, couple, and family dysfunction cause significant public health degradation and translates that knowledge into effective interventions.

We receive federal research funding from such sponsors as the National Institutes of Health ([NIH], including National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research [NIDCR]), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD), the United States Air Force (USAF), and the Administration for Children and Family (ACF).

We are also supported by a dedicated staff that brings to our group an array of interests, experiences and skills which support our research objectives.

Core Values

Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the "moral compass", the inner voice, the voice of self-control, and the basis for the trust imperative in any collective endeavor.

  • Courage. A person of integrity possesses moral courage and does what is right even if the personal cost is high.
  • Honesty. Honesty is the hallmark of the professional because in science, our word must be our bond. We don’t manipulate reports, we don’t cover up human subject violations, we don’t falsify data or documents, and we don’t write misleading research summaries. The bottom line is that we don’t lie.
  • Responsibility. No person of integrity is irresponsible; a person of true integrity acknowledges his or her duties and the effects of his or her actions on others and acts accordingly.
  • Accountability. No person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others; “the buck stops here” says it best.
  • Justice. A person of integrity seeks justice. Those who do similar things should receive similar rewards or similar punishments.
  • Openness. Integrity requires a free flow of information within the organization. Persons of integrity seek feedback from all directions to ensure they are fulfilling key responsibilities. Leaders are never afraid to allow anyone at any time to examine how they do business and associates are never afraid to offer suggestions to improve the research efforts.
  • Self-respect. To have integrity also is to respect oneself as a professional and a human being. People of integrity do not behave in ways that would bring discredit upon themselves or the group to which they belong.
  • Humility. The FTRG is completely supported by research grants and contracts. Thus, we are all public servants, ultimately employed by the US taxpayer. Millions of people toil at difficult, dangerous, or unfulfilling jobs to pay the taxes that fund our projects. Integrity includes understanding the awesome responsibility to make that investment a prudent and worthwhile one for the taxpayer.
  • Authorship. Academic integrity means that FTRG members strictly adhere to APA guidelines on authorship. Authorship order reflects the substantive contributions of the authors.
  • Stewardship. Integrity involves being a good steward of lab resources.  

Service before self tells us that service to the research and our sponsors takes precedence over personal desires. At the very least it includes the following behaviors:

  • Search for Truth: Academic research involves the search for truth. Findings are shared publicly for the benefit of society, which paid for the research and deserves its fruits. Although personal benefit (such as attention, honors, future jobs, graduate school admission) may derive from research, such benefits are secondary and should never be sought as ends in and of themselves.
  • Deference to Needs of Research Participants: Our research participants are taking time out of their lives for little personal gain and, often, at a personal cost. They are baring some of their most intimate and painful parts of their lives so that we can learn and can help others. We must never forget that their convenience and comfort should come first.
  • Respect for others: Service before self tells us that good research teams places colleagues and research participants ahead of their own personal comfort. Further, we must always act in the certain knowledge that all persons possess a fundamental worth as human beings.
  • Rule following: FTRG members are expected to exercise good judgment in the performance of their duties. However, good professionals understand that rules have a reason for being, and the default position must be to follow those rules unless there is a clear, operational reason for choosing otherwise. A discussion of possible rule modification should then be initiated (see below).
  • Rule revision: Service also requires that one work toward optimal rules that govern our research and other duties in the lab. Identifying flaws in current rules and appropriately advocating for their improvement is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Discipline and self-control: Professionals must overcome self-pity, discouragement, anger, frustration, or defeatism. They have a fundamental moral obligation to strike a tone of confidence and forward-looking optimism. More specifically, they are expected to be role models for the good that scientific pursuits can bring to society, families, and the research group.

"Excellence in all we do" directs us to develop a sustained passion for continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the FTRG into a long-term, upward spiral of scientific gains and exceptional performance.

  • Research excellence: We must focus on asking research questions, conducting research projects, and creating research reports that advance knowledge in substantial, demonstrable ways and on producing final products that exceed our contractual obligations.
  • Personal excellence: FTRG professionals must seek out information and challenges that stretch the boundaries of their current capabilities.
  • Community excellence: Community excellence is achieved when the members of an organization can work together to successfully reach a common goal. Some of the factors influencing interpersonal excellence are:
    • Mutual respect: Genuine respect involves viewing other persons as individuals of fundamental worth.
    • Benefit of the doubt: Before rushing to judgment about a person or his/her behavior, it is important to have the whole story.
    • Resources excellence: Excellence in all we do also demands that we aggressively implement policies to ensure the best possible management of resources.
    • Human resources excellence: Human resources excellence means that we recruit, train, promote, and retain those who can do the best job for us.