Family Nurture Intervention (FNI)

The Family Nurture Intervention (FNI) study was developed by Dr. Martha Welch at the Nurture Science program at Columbia University Medical Center. It is a randomized controlled clinical trial in the NICU at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center. The FNI has demonstrated that hospital-based family nurture can help prevent or overcome emotional, behavioral and developmental problems in prematurely born infants. The goal of the intervention is to restore a state of co-regulation between mother and infant by facilitating a calming, emotional connection, which serves to improve a mother’s confidence and enhance her maternal behavior. Study results include

increases in infant brain activity in the frontal polar region, enhanced maternal care giving behavior, and reduced levels of maternal anxiety and depressive systems.

The Early Experience & Physiology Laboratory works in partnership with the Nurture Science Program to analyze various aspects of the Family Nurture Intervention (FNI). Professor Hane is the director of behavioral coding for the Nurture Science Program. Our lab conducts behavioral analyses on mother-infant/child interaction and analyzes electrocardiogram data for the NPS. Currently we are expanding on the research from Anika Mitchell’s thesis, including analyzing the ecology of the NICU and its impact on maternal biobehavioral stress responding.