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From the Mouths of Babes: What Can Research on Babies, Moms, Stress, and Substance Use Tell Us About Resilience?

Laura Stroud, Ph.D.

Speaker: Laura Stroud, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Director and Senior Research Scientist

Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine

The Miriam Hospital

Providence, Rhode Island

Date: December 13, 2022 - 2:00 p.m. ET to 3:15 p.m. ET

Virtual; Registration required

NIH VideoCast

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Event Description

Stress and adversity experienced during early development can exert a profound and persistent imprint on our physiology, brain, and health across the lifespan. This imprint can lead to long-term health outcomes ranging from substance use and depression to obesity and cardiovascular disease. There is also emerging evidence that stress and adversity may be transmitted from one generation to the next. However, protective experiences may prevent or mitigate these effects. 

This lecture will provide examples of findings from Dr. Stroud’s laboratory focused on revealing the earliest intergenerational transmission of maternal experiences and behaviors (particularly substance use) in fetuses and babies; the importance of understanding and intervening during sensitive periods; and the need for understanding the broader “exposome” including social and structural impacts. 

Dr. Stroud will also describe ongoing studies from the COBRE Center for Stress, Trauma, and Resilience (STAR) and the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. This work focuses on elucidating pathways and interventions to foster resilience. The speaker will conclude with the critical need to build resilience and mitigate health inequities at structural and community levels.

The annual Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies was established to honor the founding director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This lecture series is presented by NCCIH and supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health with a generous gift from Bernard and Barbro Osher. To request sign language interpreting services or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event, contact the NCCIH Clearinghouse at or 1-888-644-6226 by December 5.


Laura Stroud, Ph.D., is professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is also director and senior research scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine of The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Stroud also directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Stress, Trauma, and Resilience (STAR) at The Miriam Hospital, where she and her colleagues study childhood stress, trauma, and resilience across the lifespan. 

Dr. Stroud’s research focuses on biological and behavioral mechanisms of stress, mood, and addiction. She is especially interested in how stress, mood, and addiction are transmitted from one generation to the next, with a focus on pregnancy and fetal/infant development and adolescence and pubertal transitions. Her work also involves a focus on marginalized and minoritized populations. 

The lecturer holds an A.B. from Stanford University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical/health psychology from Yale University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown, subsequently joining its faculty, and holds a secondary appointment at the Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Stroud served as a contributing author of the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on e-cigarette use among young people and has authored close to 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her awards include the Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Bruce Selya Research Excellence Award from Lifespan Hospitals.

Her work has been continuously funded by NIH since 2001. Other funders include the National Science Foundation, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.