Alison Miller, PhD
Professor, Health Behavior Health Education, School of Public Health
A developmental psychologist by training, Dr. Miller’s research program examines how individual child factors, social relationships, and contextual processes shape healthy development for children. Most of her work concerns young children who are growing up in poverty and/or who have experienced early life stress (also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs) or other social determinants that can negatively impact health during childhood and across the lifespan. She is interested in using developmental science to generate public health approaches that support children, families, and individuals across the broad child-serving ecosystem that shapes child health and development. To that end, her research has examined how child self-regulation and bio-behavioral stress responses, early relational health and parenting, and social contextual influences relate to varied child health and well-being outcomes including mental health, sleep, eating behavior and obesity, media use, lead exposure, medical regimen adherence, and physical activity. She has worked with community partners including pediatricians, grassroots community-based organizations, Head Start programs, and school systems, and has conducted intervention studies in family and classroom contexts. Dr. Miller collaborates with community partners and a range of UM colleagues across disciplines to translate research findings into intervention approaches that may ultimately reduce health inequities and foster positive health and well-being for children and families.