January 2017 Newsletter


Fellow Research featured in Special Issue of Children and Youth Services Review

Several fellows participated in a conference at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that culminated in a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review. The conference, held in August 2015 and co-sponsored by Chapin Hall, focused on the economic causes and consequences of child maltreatment. Several of the papers discussed at this conference were written by Doris Duke Fellows, and many of those papers are included in this special issue of Children and Youth Services Review.

Doris Duke Fellows who participated in the conference or the special issue are:

Lindsey Bullinger: published in special issue
Aislinn Conrad-Hiebner: presented at conference
Megan Feely: presented at conference
Kelley Fong: presented at conference, published in special issue
Leah Gjertson: presented at conference
Kathryn Maguire-Jack: published in special issue
Nathanial Okpych: conference discussant
Kerri Raissian: presented at conference, published in special issue
Cassandra Robertson: conference discussant
Tia McGill Rogers: published in special issue
Whitney Rostad: presented at conference, published in special issue
William Schneider: presented at conference, published in special issue
Kristen Seay: presented at conference
Elizabeth Shuey: presented at conference, published in special issue
Emily Warren: conference discussant

Congratulations to IRP and to the Doris Duke fellows whose work is featured in this issue!

Announcing New Fellows' Blog

Doris Duke graduated fellows have recently launched a feature on the fellowship website: The Fellows’ Blog! This blog showcases Doris Duke fellows’ original research with a goal of making content accessible to policymakers and practitioners.

Leah Gjertson, Leah Cheatham, Meredith Matone, Daniel Busso, and Erin Marsh of Cohort Four wrote the first blog post based on the research conducted as part of their Doris Duke Fellowships small group project. Read more about their research on disability and childbirth among women with a history of childhood maltreatment in that post here. If you are a fellow and would like more information on writing for the blog, email Sarah Wagener, Fellowship Network Coordinator, at swagener@chapinhall.org.

Fellows at NOLA SSWR Reception.jpg

Doris Duke Fellows Connect at SSWR

On January 13, Doris Duke fellows reconnected at a fellowship-sponsored cocktail reception held in New Orleans during the 2017 Society of Social Work and Research annual conference. Sixteen current and graduated fellows met to reconnect and network. It was wonderful to see inter-cohort connections being made and to hear laughter alongside conversations about future research collaborations. We look forward to seeing you at the next Doris Duke Fellowships meet-up!

Featured Fellow Interview: Dr. Kristin Abner

Each month, Sarah Wagener, Fellowship Network Coordinator at Chapin Hall, connects with a different graduated fellow to showcase the many different ways in which Doris Duke fellows prevent child maltreatment and promote the health and well-being of children and youth.

This month, Sarah connected with Dr. Kristin Abner, a Cohort Two fellow, who currently serves as a Manager at ICF.

Sarah Wagener (SW): What are your responsibilities as Manager at ICF? In what ways did getting your doctorate in sociology help prepare you to do this current work?

Kristin Abner (KA): I work in our family self-sufficiency line of business doing work with both our training/technical assistance and research/evaluation teams. In our training and technical assistance work, our central task is translating research to practice—this this is what I am passionate about—not only how to communicate information, but also how to disseminate research findings to practitioners and policymakers. We work with our clients to help make research accessible, helping them understand the research and evaluation and how to use that information. More and more, we are asked to justify why we do what we do; we live in an evidence-based world. The PhD gave me a mind geared toward evaluation and using data to drive our work.

SW: What do you like about the work you do? What challenges you in the work you do?

KA: I work on a variety of projects with differing subject matters related to economic self-sufficiency (to include the spectrum of human service programs) and content; sometimes, it will be a analyzing data or writing a report, and sometimes it is putting together web content on a social program. I like that every day of the week is filled with different activities; this is also a challenge and requires me to be adaptable, as needed, switching gears quickly based on client priorities and deliverable deadlines.

SW: ICF provides a variety of consulting services, including needs assessments and policy analysis, to a wide variety of clients. What strategies have helped you to effectively communicate the findings of your work to practitioners and policymakers? How do you translate research findings to non-researchers?

KA: I love this question! I think for me, the fellowship helped in this area. When I was a fellow, my policy mentor [Womazetta Jones] worked at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services leading child welfare initiatives. She really helped frame what research she needed to do her job. As a result, I ended up taking my 200 plus-page dissertation and turning it into a two-page bulleted list of my key findings. I think it’s trying to see the forest through the trees and to look at the big picture on what is important, and getting a practitioner perspective is very helpful in this regard. I work with practitioners in the field and have colleagues who “have their ears to the ground,” which helps us researchers gain a sense for what is important to share from our research findings.

SW: How has your experience as a Doris Duke fellow influenced your current work and/or professional aspirations?

KA: The translating research to practice/policy piece was huge for me. At our fellowship meetings, it was great to hear from folks working in policy. I will never forget a talk by Rosemary Chalk on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on child maltreatment, where she talked about recommendations around prevention, including neighborhood and community-based neighborhood strategies; this was the focus of my dissertation. The interdisciplinary nature of the fellowship gave me a great foundation in understanding social work practice and case management, as many of my fellow fellows had engaged in direct services.

If you would like to connect with Kristin, she can be reached at kristin.abner@gmail.com.

Policy Update: Executive Order from Trump Administration Signals Intentions to Repeal ACA

The current presidential administration has released an executive order that demonstrates its commitment to prioritizing the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as the Affordable Care  Act (ACA). While the order does not remove any portions of the ACA, it does signal to the Department of Health and Human Services to begin considering what it can change on its own without Congress, notably the individual mandate of the ACA; the individual mandate requires that most people in the United States be in possession of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Read more here.


Noteworthy Resource:
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

Earlier this month, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released a research report identifying strategies for communities to create health equity. Elements that have been successful, including policies, are highlighted. This report may be useful to any researchers engaged in community-level research or community-based participatory research. Download the report here