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Translational Network and Research

The Zero to Thrive initiative brings together faculty across multiple disciplines to find real-world solutions to the problems families face from pre-conception through early childhood (0-6). Zero to Thrive brings together providers, academics, policy makers, and, importantly, families, to establish a shared agenda and common metrics. 

This type of innovative, multi-layered research, is only possible with active collaborations with communities and multidisciplinary faculty, drawing on the strengths of a leading university with state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise. It is within this work with communities and across disciplines that dynamic and real solutions to lingering social problems can be found.

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It is our goal to work with communities across public-private spheres to significantly impact the health and well-being of families with young children (0 – 6) right from the very start.

Z2T Translational Network and Research Leadership

Maria Muzik, MD, MSc

Co-Director, Zero to Thrive


  • Perinatal Psychiatry: Depression and Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum
  • Prevention and Therapy of Mother-Infant relationship and attachment disturbances
  • Impact of maternal/family psychiatric illness on early child development
  • Trauma, Stress & Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during childbearing years
  • Neurobiology of Stress, Depression and PTSD
  • Parent-Infant Relationships in Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Disorders; Infant Attachment Disorders
  • Precursors of early infant stress and emotion regulation
Katherine Rosenblum, PhD, ABPP

Co-Director, Zero to Thrive


  • Infant and early childhood mental health
  • Dyadic and relationship-focused psychotherapy
  • Trauma and loss in infancy and early childhood, including a focus on child welfare
  • Special populations including military families with young children
  • Parent mental health and intergenerational transmission of risk
  • Parenting interventions in early childhoodInfant and early childhood mental health
  • Parental representations and meaning-making systems

Translational Network Leader

Alison L. Miller, PhD

Associate Professor,

Health Behavior & Health Education

Research Associate Professor,

Center for Human Growth and Development

Dr. Miller is a developmental psychologist who studies risk and resilience in children and families, with an emphasis on the early childhood years. In her work, she considers the implications of early exposure to social-contextual stressors and environmental risks for a range of maternal and child health and well-being outcomes. Dr. Miller’s research is situated in developmental science and also draws on the science of behavior change framework, which seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying successful interventions. Her work addresses how individual child factors and processes such as temperament, stress and self-regulation as well as interpersonal and family processes such as parenting, routines, and family chaos relate to child health behaviors (e.g., eating, physical activity, sleep, medication adherence). Dr. Miller’s basic research and intervention studies have examined these health behaviors in relation to obesity risk and mental health outcomes in children and families. Most of her work focuses on young children who are living in poverty or facing other adversities, and she has conducted interventions in home, school, and community settings. Dr. Miller also engages in translational and outreach activities that use a developmental and prevention science lens to inform health promotion for children, youth and families. Dr. Miller’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NICHD, NIMH, NIDDK, NHLBI, OBSSR/OppNet), the American Heart Association, and the USDA. 

Dr. Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) in the UM School of Public Health. She was previously in the Department of Psychiatry (Division of Child and Family Psychiatry) at Brown Medical School. She is affiliated with Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, is the Community Outreach and Translation Core Director for the Children’s Environmental Health Center, and also directs the Zero to Thrive Translational Network with colleagues in Psychiatry. 


Dr. Alison Miller & President Schlissel and School Public Health’s Outreach:

Dr. Miller was part of a group of faculty from the SPH who had a conversation with President Schlissel regarding the impact of coronavirus response efforts. Please review the video of that conversation via link #1 below. The SPH posted a Q & A with Dr. Miller on social distancing  and mental health during the pandemic (link #2 below) and the SPH podcasts includes Dr. Miller on 3/25/20 (link #3 below):


Angela M. Johnson, PhD

Senior Outreach Specialist at Michigan Medicine

Inequities are a leading cause of poor infant and maternal outcomes

Dr. Angela Johnson is working with the Mom Power team to assess and enhance the cultural sensitivity and cultural responsiveness of program content and process in order to strengthen the positive impact and support that programs provide diverse populations of mothers and children.


University-Community-State Partnership to Evaluate Infant Mental Health Home Visiting

Infant mental health home visiting (IMH-HV) is the primary service delivered to at-risk parents and their young children by Medicaid-funded community mental health service providers across the state of Michigan. The University of Michigan is overseeing two major studies in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, the Michigan Collaborative for Infant Mental Health Research, and community health service providers to determine the evidence base for the program and ensure its future success.

Study 1 – Detroit Wayne County

Study 1 was a broad, county-wide study that captured data on every family with a child from birth to child age 3 receiving IMH-HV services in Detroit–Wayne County over a two year period (more than 500 families).  IMH clinicians across Detroit-Wayne county representing seven CMH agencies administered clinically relevant assessments to infants and families on a quarterly basis. Data are currently being analyzed by the research team.

Study 2 – Michigan Community Mental Health agency based study

Study 2 provided a more in-depth evaluation of a smaller group of infants and families. Twelve CMH agencies across seven Michigan counties participated. The study enrolled 93 parents from pregnancy through child age 24 months as they began receiving IMH-HV services. Research staff measured multiple domains on a quarterly basis.  These quarterly assessments reflected key federal home visiting benchmark domains including parent and child health, parenting and early relationships, child development, and community referrals and health service utilization. Initial study findings are in press to be published in a special section of the Infant Mental Health Journal.

Thriving Together – a Randomized Controlled Trial of IMH-HV

The Thriving Together study is a randomized controlled trial based at the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry designed to develop and test a standardized training protocol in the model and to evaluate the efficacy of IMH-HV on a wide array of parent, child, and family biological, psychological, social, ecological and health outcomes. While the study is closed for new recruitment, data collection continues, and analysis of preliminary data is underway.


High Touch High Tech (HT2)

Research shows that pregnant women suffering from mental health or substance use disorders frequently are not screened at prenatal visits and avoid seeking services due to attitudinal barriers, such as public, perceived, and self-stigmatizing attitudes about seeking help. Zero To Thrive faculty are partnering with Wayne State University on an initiative, High Touch High Tech (HT2), to address these barriers. HT2 uses a tablet-administered tool, the Mommy Checkup app, to screen expectant mothers for mental health and substance use needs. The Mommy Checkup app is universally and proactively administered at prenatal care visits, helping to reach a high proportion of at-risk women, rather than only reaching those who self-identify or are otherwise flagged through less systematic means. The HT2 project is currently adding the option for the woman to connect with a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC), a Social Worker, who is either embedded in the prenatal care practice or is available by phone or text from a remote site to provide brief psychoeducation and/or referral to and coordination of services. 

Translational Network: What’s Happening

Translational Network Fall 2020 Meeting

Post Election Policy Rapid Response Talks

This panel presentation and discussion included faculty from the University of Michigan, and focused on how issues of racial justice and injustice impact young children and families. The Rapid Response Talks engage both faculty and the policy community in conversation regarding key topics relevant for pregnant women and families with young children, with a focus on current events and policy implications of the November election.

Focus on Health Equity: Mom Power Focus Groups

The goal is to strengthen the positive impact and support that Mom Power programs provide diverse populations of mothers and children it serves by soliciting and incorporating ideologically and socially diverse insight and feedback from key stakeholders (mothers and providers who serve them) on the content and potential social, cultural, as well as mental health impact of the Mom Power program on these same audiences.

Z2T Relevant Courses at UM

For those seeking coursework in this area, a file put together by MPH student, Rachel Varisco, lists Zero to Thrive relevant courses across a broad range of University of Michigan departments:

If you’re interested in more information or joining the Z2T Translational Network, please contact Lynette Biery, Zero to Thrive Strategic Director: