About Us


The FAM Lab at Wayne State University is devoted to improved science and practice with and for families in the metro-Detroit area. We focus on early childhood and family processes to explore ways to make mental health supports more culturally grounded and supportive.

At the FAM Lab, we are particularly interested in children's social emotional development because early development in this area begins the long-term trajectories of mental health and mental wellbeing. We partner in meaningful ways with community members to investigate the following questions:

  • What does family thriving and wellbeing look like?

  • What mental health factors are related to the relationship between stress, trauma, and wellbeing?

We are learning the ways that families impart knowledge around coping, emotion regulation, and building long-term strategies for resilience.

The FAM Lab takes up an asset-based approach to the psychological sciences. This means that we begin each study and investigation drawing on the framing from Gholson and colleagues (2012): families and children are brilliant. Like them, we accept and insist on the brilliance of children, and avoid generating arguments, logic models, and counternarratives requiring proof that children, particularly Black children, are brilliant. 

Our research and outreach are consistent with the mission of Wayne State University. We emphasize a community-based research model and partner with community organizations to develop and implement scientific innovations. Undergraduate, post-bachelor's, and graduate students achieve competency in multiple areas of this scholarly model.

The FAM Lab is part of the department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at Wayne State University. 

Living, working, and serving in Detroit, Michigan requires us to acknowledge that our education resides upon the Native land and water of the Peoria, Anishinabewaki, Potawatomi, and Miami Peoples. This land acknowledgement is one small act in the ongoing process of working to be in good relationships with the land the people of the land and, ultimately, toward decolonization.

What is resilience?

Dr. Ann Masten described resilience as "ordinary magic." Resilience is a characteristic or a skill that helps an individual or a group grow, achieve, and persevere despite adversity and risk. All families can capture their own magic. At the FAM Lab, we work with children and their families to understand the many ways families thrive. We seek to make our findings translatable and share what we learn with others.