My goals over the last five years have been focused in the area of intervention development for families impacted by violence. I have been interested in both the etiology of violence and how to intervene both preventatively and following violent events. My research efforts have primarily focused on the completion of the research work outlined in my funded K23 Patient Oriented Career Award from NIDA and subsequently an R34 grant from NIDA, however I have also collaborated with other colleagues nationally on studies examining family relationships, trauma, violence and substance abuse. At this time my research program is focused on developing evidence based interventions for the prevention and amelioration of violence in families.
The training and scope of research work for my K23 award included: conducting a needs assessment study with fathers with co-occurring substance abuse and domestic violence, developing an intervention for this population and pilot testing the intervention. I successfully completed these goals. The needs assessment study was completed with 132 fathers in one year. Next, using data from the needs assessment study, I designed the intervention Fathers for Change to address the aggression, substance abuse and poor parenting in this population of fathers. The intervention was first piloted with 10 fathers in an open trial format. Last, the intervention was tested in a small randomized trial of 18 fathers. Results of all of these studies are published (7 papers in total). The promising findings were used to develop collaborations with several community agencies in Tampa when I arrived at USF in the fall of 2013.
Since my arrival at USF, I have launched 3 research initiatives to continue this line of research. The first was to adapt Fathers for Change to fit within a residential treatment setting. I developed a collaboration with Westcare Inc. in St. Petersburg. We conducted a survey of residents within their facility to determine how many were fathers struggling with co-occurring violence and substance abuse. We learned that 40% of their population would benefit from a program like Fathers for Change. I completed initial revisions of the manual and pilot tested the intervention on a group of 20 fathers. We conducted pre and post-assessments which revealed significant reductions in hostile thinking, negative affect regulation and co-parenting problems. Based on focus group data, fathers were overwhelmingly positive about the intervention, wanted the program to last longer and to continue with booster sessions when they exit the residential program. Results of this pilot are in preparation for publication and have been used to support further research for the residential version of Fathers for Change in an R34 application that was awarded by NIDA in September 2015. I finalized revisions of the manual after conducting an additional 10 pilot cases that included 12 residential and 4 aftercare booster sessions coupled with a 6 month residential treatment program. In May 2016, I launched the randomized pilot of Fathers for Change Residential compared to a Parent Education Program. This will be a 2 year trial with a goal of 60 fathers.
Second, I developed a research collaboration with Eckerd Community Services and the Department of Children and Families Diversion Program to offer the outpatient version of Fathers for Change and evaluate it with their population. This project launched in October 2014 with a small contract to provide the service through the USF Psychology Department Psychological Services. Pilot data from this project along with the data collected through my K23 award were used to apply for an R01 randomized trial to further evaluate Fathers for Change as an outpatient intervention for families referred by child welfare. The application is currently under review.
Third, I worked with Dr. James McHale at USF-St. Petersburg to submit a successful R01 proposal to NICHD to evaluate his co-parenting intervention with at risk African American co-parents. Together we modified aspects of the intervetion to allow inclusion of coparents who had minor histories of IPV. As co-Investigator of this project I designed the hypotheses related to testing the mentoring intervention as a prevention model for domestic violence in at risk new parents. This study launched in August 2015 and will continue through 2020.
I have been actively publishing, presenting, and writing grants. Notable conference presentations were made at the Word Association of Infant Mental Health, National Child Traumatic Stress Network Annual Meeting, the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, the American Psychological Association Annual meeting, International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies and the National Summit on Interpersonal Violence Across the Life Span. I was invited to provide research overviews at two invitation only meetings at both NIH and ACF in Washington, DC and to give the Plenary Address at the Nordic Domestic Violence Conference in Oslo, Norway in November 2015. I have been first author on 18 peer reviewed and 4 non-peer reviewed publications over the last 5 years and co-author on 8 more. I have submitted 5 NIH research proposals (3 were resubmissions of which 2 were funded), 1 NIJ and 1 SAMHSA proposal as the PI. Two of these proposals are still under review.
Aside from my primary research projects, I have conducted multiple collaborative projects with colleagues nationally, First, I have continued to collaborate with colleagues at the Yale Child Study Center and University of Pennsylvania to evaluate the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI). This is a brief peritraumatic intervention designed to prevent the onset of PTSD in children. We have completed one randomized trial (published in 2010) and one open trial of the intervention (published in 2015). Second, I continue to collaborate with my Yale colleagues on data they are collecting nationally with agencies that have implemented the CFTSI and are entering outcome data into a RedCap data system. We will continue to research the intervention to determine for which populations and trauma types it works best. Third, I have worked with other members of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) to analyze and publish research from their Core Dataset. This is a dataset of over 18,000 youth who have been evaluated at NCTSN centers nationally. I have one published paper from this collaboration and another currently under review. Last, with colleagues who are part of the Early Growth and Development Study (a national adoption study with collaborators at the University of Oregon, Pittsburg, New Orleans, and California at Riverside), I have published 3 first author papers examining the environmental associations among marital hostility, parenting hostility and child aggression frin infancy to the child's entry into kindergarten. They are the first papers to examine the spillover of marital to parenting to child aggression in genetically unrelated mother, father, child triads.
I recently developed a research collaboration with colleagues at Warwick University in London. I received a sub-award on a grant from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSCPP) in London to conduct a research review of interventions designed for families impacted by domestic violence. The review was used to design an intervention to be delivered to expectant parents in home who have problems with domestic violence. The intervention has been designed and will first be piloted in the UK in September 2016. Once piloted, we will be poised to conduct an evaluation of this program in London, UK with later trials here in the US.