July 2016 Newsletter

Doris Duke Fellowships Applications for Cohort Seven Open August 1, 2016

Applications for Cohort Seven of the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being will open on August 1, 2016. Doctoral students from a range of disciplines (e.g., child development, education, psychology, public health, public policy, social work, sociology) whose research explores the promotion of child well-being and the prevention of child maltreatment are encouraged to apply.

Application instructions, materials, and frequently asked questions can be found on our new website. If you have any questions, email ddfellowships@chapinhall.org. Thank you for helping us spread the word to those in your networks who you think would be excellent fellows!

Featured Fellow Interview: Dr. Catherine Corr


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. Catherine Corr, a Cohort Four Fellow. She holds a PhD in Special Education from the University of Illinois. Catherine currently works as a Research Associate in the Special Education Department at Vanderbilt University, where she is Project Coordinator on a study led by Dr. Pat Snyder (University of Florida) and Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter (Vanderbilt University). The study is titled, “Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers’ Use of Embedded-Instruction Practices: An Efficacy Trial of Tools for Teachers”.

Catherine recently published a manuscript in the June 2016 issue of Young Exceptional Children titled, “We Cannot Walk Away: DEC’s Position on Child Abuse, Neglect, Trauma.” The manuscript calls on the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) to support children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment. Catherine currently works with The Division of Early Childhood to formalize a position statement on supporting children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment. Her manuscript outlines her collaboration with the DEC and the evolution of the DEC’s first position statement on this important topic. 

Sarah Wagener (SW): In developing the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Position Statement on Child Abuse, Neglect, and Trauma, you currently collaborate with a diverse, multidisciplinary team of leaders in the field from across the country. What are you learning from this process? Have any experiences during your Doris Duke Fellowship been particularly useful to you in this new collaboration?

Catherine Corr (CC): From this position statement process, I have learned that many people are interested in and passionate about supporting the well-being of young children with disabilities who have experienced abuse. At the same time, many of those same people can also be overwhelmed by where to begin and how to sustain meaningful work on this issue. The fellowship has been helpful to me in this current collaboration because it allowed me to build connections and create cross-discipline, “living, breathing collaborations” with other passionate individuals in order to improve services for young children with disabilities who have experienced abuse.

SW: In your recently-published manuscript, you share a story of an interaction with a DEC conference attendee who chose not to engage with your work because it was “too sad.” How do you stay motivated and energized when serving a particularly vulnerable population (i.e., young children with disabilities who have experienced abuse)?

CC: I try to reframe things in a positive way. I often talk with students and colleagues about how there is much room for improvement, which is exciting; there is a lot of room for research, innovation, and passion to influence the quality and quantity of services available for children and families. Having a network of fellows, especially my Doris Duke small group, has been very beneficial to me when the work or bureaucratic obstacles feel overwhelming.

SW: Do you have any advice for graduated or current fellows as they journey toward publishing their work or collaborating with diverse teams?

CC: No matter how much or how little people are willing or able to contribute, be sure to welcome, encourage, and appreciate their input. This work is difficult, but small victories are just as important as larger ones. Celebrate both!

Fellows interested in Catherine’s work with children with disabilities who have experienced abuse are invited to contact her at catherine.corr@vanderbilt.edu.


Noteworthy Resource: Paper Tigers

For those interested in reforming schools educational systems and supporting children and adolescents who have experienced trauma, Paper Tigers is a must-see film.

Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families. Directed by James Redford and produced by James Redford and Karen Pritzker, the film explores Lincoln Alternative High School in rural Walla Walla, Washington and its use of an adverse childhood experiences (ACE) framework to support the physical, mental, and emotional health of its students, thus increasing their educational attainment and improving their well-being. After learning about ACE at an educational conference in 2010, Jim Sporleder, Lincoln’s principal implemented a new approach at a high school whose students were impacted by violence, drugs, and truancy. Three years later, the number of fights at Lincoln Alternative High School had gone down by 75% and the graduation rate had increased five-fold. Paper Tigers documents this progress, showing Lincoln’s staff try a new approach to discipline, one based on understanding of adverse childhood experiences and treatment, rather than punishment and suspension.

Find more information on the film and how to host or attend a screening here.