Vonda Jump Portrait

Vonda Jump

Research Scientist

  • Phone: 435.797.3579

Dr. Jump is a Senior Research Scientist in the Research and Evaluation Division of the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice, with an emphasis on systems of care affecting infants in orphanages as well as parent-child relationships during the first several years of a child's life. Dr. Jump is the Principal Investigator of a contract with the Department of Defense to provide training in infant massage on military installations with high rates of deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan.  Dr. Jump is the Principal Investigator of a project to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health services for children under the age of 8 who have experienced a traumatic event, and she is working collaboratively with The Children's Center in Salt Lake City to better understand what treatments work for which children to help improve their mental health as well as increase their resilience.  She is also the Principal Investigator of a training project throughout Utah to provide workshops to teenagers and their parents around facilitating positive mental health.  Dr. Jump was the Principal Investigator of a training project to promote prosocial development and prevent bullying in Head Start centers throughout Utah. Dr. Jump was the Principal Investigator of the "Strengthening Early Childhood Education in Jordan" project, focusing on improving  undergraduate teacher preparation programs at two universities in the Kingdom of Jordan.  Dr. Jump was also Co-Principal Investigator of the local Cache County National Children's Study, under subcontract from the University of Utah.  Dr. Jump has also investigated the effects of infant massage on illness expression in vulnerable infants in Ecuadorian and Haitian orphanages. Dr. Jump has developed an intensive 4 day training program for use in collaboration with orphanage staff members, to augment their expertise and knowledge in a partnership relationship, to optimize outcomes for infants and young children living in orphanages and implemented a train the trainer model in orphanages in partnership with Hands to Hearts International. Dr. Jump has conducted training and/or research in orphanages in Ecuador, Haiti, India, and Russia.

Dr. Jump is interested in the intersection of physical and mental health in parents and their young children.  As part of this, Dr. Jump is interested in the physical health and emotional effects of infant massage as well as the effects of training on parent and orphanage caregiver behavior and resulting child outcomes and she is currently seeking funding for several new projects to further these avenues of research. Dr. Jump has worked extensively with ZERO TO THREE on their initiative to improve outcomes for military families with young children experiencing extensive and chronic stress by training personnel working at over 15 installations and National Guard states to help parents meet the needs of their young children.  In addition, Dr. Jump teaches undergraduate and graduate child development classes in the Department of Family and Human Development as well as the Psychology Department at Utah State University.