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Intellect

BYU part of newly established National Healthy Marriage Resource Center

Funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected the Brigham Young University School of Family Life along with the National Council on Family Relations and a team of four other major universities to create and operate the first-ever National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.

With a $900,000 grant per year, the comprehensive, national center will collect and make accessible all reliable marriage research and resources over the next five years.

"With the ever increasing interest in the institution of marriage and related public policy, there is a great demand for a centralized, national clearinghouse of reliable, nonpartisan, research-based information," said Alan Hawkins, BYU professor and BYU team director for the center.

"This project will allow those working to strengthen marriages in their communities to access tools to help them in their work. In addition, the center will help them keep up with the growing body of research related to healthy marriages," he said.

To create the center, BYU is collaborating with NCFR, a nonpartisan professional family organization; Child Trends, a nonpartisan research organization, located in Washington, D.C.; and four other universities: Syracuse, Texas Tech, Norfolk State and Minnesota.

BYU will be the center's western region and research hub. The School of Family Life will assume primary responsibility for the efforts to collect and synthesize research related to healthy marriages. This research will then be published in various forms to ensure the information is readily available to federal, state and local governments; educational institutions; private and public agencies; faith-based and community organizations; and interested individuals.

"We are committed to bringing the highest level of scholarship to this task," Hawkins said. "BYU brings to this task the largest concentration of marriage scholars and educators of any university in the nation. In particular, three scholars from three different disciplines along with three graduate students will donate nearly 70 hours a week to keeping the public informed."

The center will:

  • Collect and disseminate information on healthy marriage.

  • Create resources and tools to aid marriage educators, practitioners, community activists and other interested individuals and groups.

  • Collect, organize, synthesize and disseminate research findings about how to build and sustain healthy marriages.

  • Collect, foster and articulate best practices for practitioners, such as marriage counselors, social workers, clergy and mental health professionals.

  • Communicate information about healthy marriage to practitioners, policymakers, legislators and the general public. The center will offer a regular listserv for electronic news and will publish newsletters and other publications targeted at specific populations and audiences.

    Beginning in 2006, the center will host an annual Marriage Summit. NCFR will convene participants from across the political, regional, cultural and educational spectrum to coordinate healthy marriage efforts, advise the center and discuss the current state of marriage.

    For more information about the center, contact Tonya Fischio at (801) 422-9759.

    Writer: Tonya Fischio

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