ezPreemie Project

ezPreemie Project

Today, 80-90% of very preterm infants survive. However, preterm birth alters the development of the prefrontal cortex, the brain region heavily involved in behavior regulation and inhibition. This places children born very preterm at high risk for developmental delays and behavioral problems.

Early prevention and intervention can interrupt the development of problem behaviors, reduce active problem behaviors and improve functioning for children and families. Behavioral parent training (BPT) is a gold standard for prevention and treatment of child behavior problems. BPT teaches child management skills and positive parenting strategies. Little is known about the use and effects of BPT programs for former very preterm infants with their unique medical, developmental, and psychological risk profiles.

A research team from Ohio State University, Rush University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Klein Buendel is launching a 5-year research project to develop and evaluate a technology-based, widely accessible, and effective form of BPT delivery to address the unmet and unique needs of parents of very preterm children. The app will be tested alone and in combination with specialized coaching. The project is called “Parent Training for Parents of Toddlers Born Very Premature.” It is being led by Dr. Susie Breitenstein from Ohio State University (OSU) Dr. Michele Greene form Ruch University (Multiple Principal Investigators). the project funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (HD104072).

The research project will design and develop a web-based app, similar to one developed previously by Dr. Breitenstein and her team, called ezParent. ezParent was designed for parents of children ages 2-6. It provides behavioral training through brief vides, interactivity, reflection questions, and assessments to parents of young children. The new iteration of ezParent ezPreemie will assess the independent and combined effects of ezParent and coaching calls on parent and child outcomes in families with very preterm infants.

Dr. Breitenstein, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, is an Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation, and Senior Director, Community Outreach and Engagement & CHW Training Program in the OSU College of Nursing. Dr. Michelle Greene is an Associate Professor and Director of the Psychology Section in the Department of Pediatrics at Rush Medical College. Research Co-investigators include Dr. Michael Schoeny and Dr. Kousiki Patra from Ruch University, Dr. Sarah Keim and Dr. Mary Lauren Neel from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Ms. Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel. The ezPreemie app will be engineered by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

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