BCTR welcomes incoming director Anthony Burrow

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Anthony Burrow (photo: Jason Koski/Cornell University)

Anthony Burrow, associate professor of human development and associate dean for extension and outreach in the College of Human Ecology, has been named director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR).

Burrow, who will begin his new role at BCTR on July 1, succeeds Christopher Wildeman, professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, who is moving to a new position at Duke University.

Established in 2011, the BCTR brings together researchers with health and human service organizations to expand and strengthen the connections between research, policy and practice. The goal is linking research with real-world concerns to improve the health and well-being of families and communities.

“In 2011, the year I arrived at Cornell, two distinguished and cherished centers merged to form what we now observe as the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research,” Burrow said. “For the duration of my time at Cornell, the BCTR has served as a beacon for aligning my research with the College of Human Ecology’s mission to improve lives by exploring and shaping human connections,” said Burrow.

“The chance to serve as director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research is a genuine honor,” he said. “In this role, I see a tremendous opportunity – and perhaps one made more urgent by the particular moment our world is experiencing – to discover and share actionable insights with the communities we serve.”

Burrow directs the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), which links science and service by involving 4-H communities in research projects to promote positive youth development. His research focuses on two main areas: how notions of race are incorporated into self-identity and perceptions of everyday encounters; and the benefits of having a sense purpose in life as a psychological resource.

Burrow has earned Cornell’s Engaged Scholar Prize, serves as a provost’s fellow for public engagement, and in January was one of two recipients of Cornell’s inaugural Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service Through Diversity.

“Anthony exemplifies the type of publicly engaged research and teaching that we value in the College of Human Ecology,” said Rachel Dunifon, dean of CHE. “As director of PRYDE, he draws upon his expertise in positive youth development to partner with 4-H and other organizations to develop programs designed to enhance youth well-being. I am excited to partner with Anthony as we further increase the impact of our extension and outreach mission.”

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Christopher Wildeman
(photo: Simon Wheeler)

“I also want to thank Chris Wildeman for his leadership of the BCTR, during which time he increased the BCTR’s focus on policy impact in numerous ways,” Dunifon said.

Wildeman served as director of the BCTR for two years. Over this time, he increased the BCTR’s focus on policy impact, teaching and training, hosted the Doing Translational Research podcast and developed important new programs in the center. He also served as the co-director of the National Data Archive for Child Abuse and Neglect, a database that advances research in child maltreatment, youth development and family dynamics.

“Directing the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research has truly been the greatest privilege of my career,” Wildeman said. “The work that comes out of the center, true to the center’s namesake, is both of the highest scientific quality and has the potential to truly transform our increasingly-precarious society. There is not a doubt in my mind that Anthony is the perfect leader for the center and will guide it for many years to come.”

Burrow said he looks forward to building on the BCTR’s strengths and creating new research partnerships with faculty, students and community stakeholders.

“I aim to generate a broader platform for studying positive youth development,” he said. “Through such an initiative, I believe we can capitalize on so many wonderful projects and programs already housed within the center, while also formalizing a more far-reaching agenda for translating what is known about what helps young people thrive and enables them to contribute to the world around them.”

“It is clear to me that successfully navigating present day challenges demands inclusive, collaborative and rigorous translational science,” Burrow said. “At the BCTR, striving to conduct research with impact underlies our collective purpose – and what could be more enjoyable than having a clear aim and a talented team of people heading towards it together?”

The center was named for the late Urie Bronfenbrenner ’38, who taught at Cornell for more than 50 years and whose research helped to inspire the federal Head Start program.

Today, more than 40 Cornell faculty affiliates of the BCTR work with practitioners to design, implement and evaluate projects and programs focused on nutrition, youth development, parenting, health care, aging and related issues.