Joshua Mersky, professor of social work
Mersky is founding co-director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. His research interests include the study of how adversity and trauma undermine health and well-being. He can discuss health and human service programs and policies that can help to prevent trauma or mitigate its effects. He can also provide an overview of what trauma is, its prevalence in different populations and how trauma affects individuals and communities over a lifetime and across generations.
James (Dimitri) Topitzes, associate professor of social work
Topitzes is co-founding clinical director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. He has researched the long-term effects of child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences along with interventions aimed at preventing or treating early psychological trauma. He devotes much of his attention to designing, implementing and testing programs aimed at resolving the effects of trauma. He is currently exploring the link between trauma and employment problems and helping agencies address clients’ trauma histories through an innovative screening and brief intervention protocol.
Kirk Harris, associate professor of urban planning
Harris is an expert on policymaking that supports vulnerable communities and families. He has served on a number of initiatives that promote the engagement of low-income African-American fathers in their children’s lives. He can discuss why a strong male presence is important, the challenges low-income fathers face and how community resources can be used to encourage fathers’ involvement.
David Pate, associate professor and chair of social work
Pate studies how black men are affected by the social welfare system and the challenges that impede their ability to attain economic security. He has researched “toxic stress,” which is defined as an early exposure to chronic, unmitigated stress that affects behavior, learning and health for a lifetime, and its impact on those exposed to it.
Kim Litwack, professor and dean of the School of Nursing
Litwack works with a project teaching paramedics and EMTs to reduce the impact of, and need for, repeated emergency calls by offering preventive care to improve the health of those with chronic conditions.
Ryan Shorey, assistant professor of psychology
One of Shorey’s main areas of research focuses on risk factors for, and consequences of intimate partner violence. He examines whether treatment of substance use reduces the occurrence of domestic violence and sexual assault. The overall goal of his work is to gain a clearer understanding of how to develop and implement programs aimed at reducing intimate partner violence, sexual assault and substance use disorders
Danielle Romain, assistant professor of criminal justice & criminology
Romain can answer questions about intimate partner violence and criminal courts. Her primary research interests include decision-making in criminal courts, as well as the experiences of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She has worked as a victims’ advocate to meet the safety, housing and referral needs of domestic violence victims.