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For Immediate Release: April 5, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s leading philanthropy on health and health care, has awarded Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) Research Scientist Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D. a 24-month grant through the New Connections program.  Charmaraman is among a select group of Junior Investigators to receive one of the 24-month grants from New Connections. The grant will allow Charmaraman to examine ways media may be used to promote resiliency among adolescents who are vulnerable to internalizing negative views of themselves which are generally widespread in mainstream media. She will develop a complimentary qualitative study to a national online survey she began piloting in 2011. The ongoing study aims to understand how media use affects adolescents’ sense of community and personal awareness of stigma and stereotype reflected in messages which can challenge the value of one’s social identities. Charmaraman will interview 30 participants within the larger study to increase in-depth understanding of the social processes underlying unhealthy adolescent media and social networking habits while also highlighting the potential of media use to support resiliency.

New Connections is a national program designed to introduce new scholars to RWJF and expand the diversity of perspectives that inform the Foundation’s programming.  New Connections seeks early to mid-career scholars who are historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, or individuals from low-income communities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Charmaraman to a program that reflects the Foundation’s commitment to increasing the diversity in our grant making and in the broader fields of health research,” says Debra Pérez, Ph.D., MPA, MA, Assistant Vice-President for Research and Evaluation at RWJF. “More than a grant opportunity, New Connections serves as a lifelong professional network for diverse researchers and evaluators,” says Pérez.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am extremely humbled and proud to be among the junior investigators honored with this prestigious grant," says Charmaraman. "This award will connect me to a network of established experts in research and evaluation related to health and health care, while providing me with an opportunity to evaluate a program that has broad implications for building resiliency in vulnerable adolescent populations. I’m committed to research and programming that bridge societal gaps and advance positive urban youth identity and agency development.”

More information about New Connections is available at http://www.rwjf-newconnections.org/index.html.

About the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College

The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is one of the largest gender-focused research-and-action organizations in the world. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory and publications, and implement training programs on issues that address issues of concern to women, girls, families, and communities.  Since 1974, work at the Centers has generated changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, RWJF works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For 40 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, RWJF expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

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