Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif
Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at UA and director of the Pediatric Development Research (PDR) lab. As a developmental research psychologist she has studied varying age groups across the life span. During her graduate training under Dr. Lorraine Bahrick (Florida International University), she specialized in the study of infant perception and development. During her postdoctoral studies under Dr. Tiffany Field (University of Miami), she focused on the study of maternal depression effects on infant perception and development, as well as on interventions for preterm infants and children with special needs. Dr. Hernandez-Reif also developed expertise in massage therapy research and complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) during her tenure as the Co-Director of the Touch Research Institute. In those studies she collaborated with Dr. Field to examine CIM (i.e., massage therapy, yoga, tai chi) for promoting health and well-being, reducing pain and stress, and enhancing functioning for children and adults with varying diagnoses. At the University of Alabama, Dr. Hernandez-Reif has conducted studies on maternal depression, infant and child word-object learning, and more recently has become interested in studies related to early childhood education and school readiness. She has a longitudinal study examining criterion in early infancy that predict to school readiness at 5-years of age. In 2018 she completed a program evaluation of Pre-K in a public city school system and is currently collaborating with Dr. April Kendrick in examining Pre-K effectiveness in a county public school system.