James Hudziak, MD

The Vermont Family Based Approach:
A Gene by Environment model of health promotion, prevention, and family based intervention for all.

Being a kid is a tough job. Being a kid can be a great job. Children have almost no control over the factors that effect their early lives. Children do not get to choose their parents (or genes), their siblings, where they live, who they live with, who their peers are, or what type of schools they go to. They often have little say on their diet, whether or not they have access to sports, music, or other health promoting activities. In short, a child’s development can be viewed as a series of interactions between their biology (genetics) and their environment, neither of which they can control. Dr. Hudziak will present data on genetic and environmental influences on common child behavioral problems and wellness. He will argue that these gene-environment interactions are manifested in the brain and ultimately in behavior. He will combine research from his work here at UVM, as well as from his international collaborations with Vrje University in Amsterdam, ErasmusMC in Rotterdam, and the Montreal Neurological Institute. In an attempt to explain how environmental factors influence genetic function, and ultimately brain development, this lecture will focus on the science of genetic and environmental influences on developmental psychopathology and wellness with special emphasis on the Vermont Family Based Approach (VFBA), a health care reform model developed here at UVM.

James Hudziak Biography

Known internationally for his work in the psychiatric genetics and developmental neuroimaging of child and adolescent behavior, Dr. Hudziak is the Director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, and Families at Fletcher Allen  Health Care and University of Vermont’s College of Medicine. His is Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Pediatrics at UVM; having previously trained at the University of Minnesota for medical school and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been identified as being a member of the top 1% of Doctors in the United States. Dr. Hudziak has published over 150 peer-reviewed publications from these, and other investigations. Dr. Hudziak is the creator of a health promotion and illness prevention treatment program entitled, The Vermont Family Based Approach. The Approach is the direct result of his 20+ years in genetics and neuroscience and is based on the simple fact that the best way to promote health in children and families is to help the family. Dr. Hudziak’s approach is being used in clinics around the world and it is his goal to have it used more broadly in the State of Vermont.

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