National Institutes of Health Funds Latino School Readiness Research in Oregon

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                           August 5, 2014                                    
For information contact:
Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez:  (435) 890-4613
Nell Caraway:  (541) 343-4747

National Institutes of Health Funds Latino School Readiness Research in Oregon
Eugene, OR – Latino youth currently comprise more than one fifth of the U.S. youth population, yet this sizeable group of the nation’s future adults lags alarmingly behind non?Latino youth in academic achievement and high school graduations rates.  In an effort to address this educational gap, the National Institutes of Health has awarded IRIS Educational Media of Eugene with a grant to develop and test a multimedia parent training program called Padres Preparados (Prepared Parents). The program will be delivered to Latino families through Head Start centers and will assist parents in teaching school readiness skills to their preschool age children, a critical period in supporting academic engagement. IRIS Ed is nationally recognized for producing video training that models research-based behavior management techniques. Dr. Melanie Domenech Rodríguez of Utah State University, an expert on cultural adaptations of evidence-based parenting interventions, is leading the project. 

The Padres Preparados program will target parenting skills that have been shown to support school readiness: pre-literacy support; skills building; effective discipline; monitoring; problem?solving; andpositive parent involvement. The program will use appropriate cultural, linguistic, and social contexts to teach and model the skills. A pilot version of the program was evaluated by 40 Latino families at Head Start locations in Woodburn and Salem, Oregon, and showed a significant increase in parents’ use of skills that support early literacy.  Ramon Ramirez, member of the Higher Education Coordinator Council for the State of Oregon confirmed the pilot program’s impact on Latino families, "The program gives parents valuable tools to assist their children in getting an early start on educational success. I have seen the result in my own community." The pilot program won a 2014 Telly Award as an outstanding educational video.  Nell Caraway, Principal Investigator and CEO of IRIS Ed, expects thatPadres Preparados will be a valuable tool for the Head Start centers and educational districts that serve growing Latino populations in Oregon and throughout the United States. 

About IRIS Educational Media:
IRIS Ed is a behavioral research and development firm based in Eugene, OR. The firm was founded in 1999 with the intention of bringing research-based professional development to K-12 school staff, parent educators, and parents. IRIS Ed collaborates with leading educators and researchers on important topics to create video-based curriculums on DVD and online. These programs are distinguished by the use of scientifically-based content that is presented in interesting, realistic, and engaging approaches. For more information, visit

About Dr. Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez
Dr. Domenech Rodríguez, a Professor of Psychology at Utah State University, is deeply committed to researching family well-being among Latino populations.  Her research focuses on family processes in Spanish-speaking Latino families. She has over 20 years of involvement in research with Latino children, adolescents, and families, and 15 years of experience with the Parent Management Training – Oregon (PMTO) model in research and applied contexts. Dr. Domenech Rodríguez is a licensed psychologist in Utah, Idaho, and Puerto Rico.  
The Padres Preparados  project is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, grant #2 R44 HD071654-02.


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