« What We're Learning

Sign up to follow What We're Learning:

A Fresh Perspective from Doris Duke Fellows on Child Abuse Prevention

January 14, 2016

By Lola Adedokun, M.P.H., program director for child well-being

The prevention of child abuse and neglect requires a continuous and critical assessment of existing research and programs while training the next generation of child-focused leaders in policy, research and practice. As such, we are pleased to announce the release of the book Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership. Authored by fellows of the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being, the book brings a fresh perspective to the complex issues that contribute to child abuse and neglect. The authors build on the traditional scientific process of small clinical research efforts by incorporating more diverse ways of learning, such as statistical methods that model randomized conditions, administrative data systems that track population level changes, and detailed implementation studies that determine how interventions can be adopted, sustained and scaled up in community settings.

Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership is a direct response to the call for more research, which the Institute of Medicine/National Research Council voiced in their 2014 report, New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research. The institute found that, while our understanding of child maltreatment has deepened and our capacity to respond is encouraging, significant research gaps remain.

The book highlights a number of important themes, such as the need to broaden the concept of child maltreatment to include both familial and social acts of abuse and neglect; establish an integrated approach that reaches across the lifespan; and promote greater data use and sharing. Authors also recommend that the practitioners draw on neurobiological and implementation research to better understand how to best carry out interventions that meet the needs of families and children “where they are.” In publishing this work, the Doris Duke Fellows demonstrate how a new generation of leaders in the field is working ambitiously to create new practice and policy initiatives that benefit the lives of children. Specifically, they highlight the need for academia to lead the charge in improving the pipeline of researchers and to encourage learning across departments and related disciplines like public health or education.

Launched in 2011, the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being program has supported 60 fellows from a range of academic disciplines, including child development, economics, education, epidemiology, medicine, public health, public policy, psychology and social work. The fellowships aim to identify, develop and empower a new generation of leaders who use diverse research methods to improve child abuse prevention policy and practice.

For a preview of the book, click here