Planning Through the Pandemic with Hope, Happiness and Health

Dr. Tammy Henderson, professor of family studies in the Department of Nutrition, Hospitality & Human Services, is the 2021 Conference Program Chair for the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference. Because planning a successful national conference takes several years of preparation, both the conference locale and theme, were selected before the global pandemic. Yet, the conference theme, The Science of Families: Hope, Happiness & Health, could not be more timely.

Annually, faculty members, researchers, family professionals and students anticipate the NCFR conference, which has been described as the premier research conference that focuses on children, youth, families and communities. Plenary session presenters are: Dr. Andrea G. Hunter, The Shadow of Suns: Paradigmatic Rifts and the Theoretical Legacies of the Black Struggle in Family Science; Dr. Patricia Matthews-Juarez, Emerging Shapes of Families: The Challenge Toward Family and Social Equity; and Dr. Camara Jones, Four Allegories: Tools for Naming Racism and Moving to Action. The three plenary session presenters will later join Dr. Suzanne Randolph Cunningham for a special session, Racial, Ethnic, & Cultural Influences on Black Mental Health during COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Findings. The conference theme advances to the Call for Papers, The Science of Families: Nurturing Hope, Happiness, & Health in a Special Collection in, Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science, in which Henderson is one of three guest editors.

Henderson states, “Presenters will bring multiple voices, methods, and solutions to consider the impacts of racism, colorism, sexism and more, as they promote hope happiness, and health for families. Participants will gain access to cutting-edge research, evidence-based practices and policies and instructional innovations.” While planning a program during a pandemic has been challenging, Henderson expresses grateful appreciation to the NCFR Staff and team members who have served on the NCFR Conference Program Planning Committee and Umbrella Team.