Time to Add to Calendar 2021-10-25 09:00:00 2021-10-26 16:00:00 29th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues Virtual (times listed are in Eastern Time) Population Research Institute css7@psu.edu America/New_York public
Location Virtual (times listed are in Eastern Time)
Photo of dozens of Rohingya children in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Environmental Impacts on Families: Change, Challenge, and Adaptation

Families are embedded in larger contexts that have implications for family relationships and well-being. A large body of research by family scholars has documented the impacts of multiple dimensions of the broader social environment−including cultural, economic, and political contexts−on family functioning. Less attention has been paid to how dimensions of the physical environment may affect families, including factors that protect families and promote their resilience in the face of change and challenge. Toward stimulating novel interdisciplinary and translational research on families, the 2021 National Symposium on Family Issues will examine the role of the physical environment in family relationships, behaviors, and well-being, with a focus on three key dimensions: environmental disasters, climate change, and the built environment.

The Family Symposium was virtual.  You may view the recording of the Family Symposium by clicking the links below the Agenda. Scroll down.  


Monday, October 25, 2021

9 am-noon (ET) Session 1: Environmental Disasters

Aerial view of houses surrounded by muddy flood water.The first session will focus on the social, demographic, and health impacts of environmental disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis, on communities, families, and children. A focus will be on the role of individual and community resilience in long-term recovery from disasters. Speakers will also address the role of government programs and policies in helping individuals adapt, and the efficacy of evidence-based interventions in post-disaster contexts.

  • David Abramson, Clinical Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Science, New York University School of Global Public Health
  • Elizabeth Frankenberg, Director, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tara Powell, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Moderator: Alexis Santos, Assistant Professor of Human Development & Family Studies and Demography, Penn State

1:30-4:30 pm (ET) Session 2: Climate Change

The session addresses the intersection of environmental conditions, socioeconomic disparities, and community resilience that is shaping new realities for and constraints on families. Speakers will advance understanding of how environmental change impacts maternal and child health, family functioning, and adaptation across diverse communities around the world. Speakers will consider ways in which climate change has altered family life and opportunities as well as issues of environmental justice.

  • Audrey Dorelien, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Affiliate, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota and Kathryn Grace, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment, and Society, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota
  • Amanda Carrico, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Shanondora Billiot, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions, Arizona State University

Moderator: Heather F. Randell, Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography, Penn State

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

9am-noon Session 3: The Built Environment

Photo of a ghetto with a rundown building on a corner, graffiti, and trash.This session will focus on the ways in which dimensions of the built environment−from the proximal environment of homes to neighborhood and larger community environments−have effects on the health and well-being of youth and families. Speakers will consider the ways in which features of home environments get under the skin to affect youth physical and mental health, how food access and physical activity opportunities in the community serve to promote youth and family health, and the effects of neighborhood development programs on reducing health disparities among children, adolescents, and families.

  • Kim Ferguson, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, Roy E. Larsen Chair, Department of Psychology, Sarah Lawrence College, and Gary Evans, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology, Cornell University
  • Laurie Lachance, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Health Behavior & Health Education and Director of Evaluation, Center for Managing Chronic Disease, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
  • Andrew Binet, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Urban Planning and Public Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Mariana Arcaya, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ModeratorSelena E. Ortiz, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration and Demography, Penn State

Detailed Session Agenda:

5-mnute welcome and introduction

30 minutes - first speakers

5 minutes for clarification questions

30 minutes - second speaker

5 minutes for clarification questions

10-minute break

30 minutes - third speaker

5 minutes for clarification questions

45 minutes for Q&A with three speakers


Recording of Family Symposium

Session 1 on Environmental Disasters

Session 2 on Climate Change

Session 3 on The Built Environment


Symposium Sponsors

The Symposium on Family Issues is sponsored annually by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R13 HD048150) along with Penn State’s Population Research Institute and Social Science Research Institute.

Also see:

Family Symposium Homepage
Family Symposium Book Series

Contact Person Carolyn Scott
Contact Email css7@psu.edu
Event Type