The Institute for the Study of Child Development is a research center within the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Directed by Dr. Michael Lewis, the Institute's faculty is comprised of psychologists, educators, and other professionals interested in understanding and facilitating the development of children and their families. The Institute for the Study of Child Development has as its goal the understanding of the processes leading to healthy children. Good health involves emotional, social, and psychological functioning, as well as physical well-being. For a complete understanding of child health, research is necessary at all levels of functioning, from molecular processes to the whole child, as well as the environmental context in which the child is raised. Ultimately, this will lead to innovative interventions that will benefit children in their everyday lives.
The Institute seeks to understand individual children through studying normal and atypical development patterns. The guiding model of development is that an organism's characteristics are a function of an interaction between the environment and behavior, and that behavioral expression is always in the service of adaptation to the environment. As children mature from infancy into childhood and adolescence, identifying possible paths of growth and the factors that influence them, will help physicians, educators, and parents understand and best serve the developing individual.