Our Work


Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

iLookOut for Child Abuse

The online learning program, iLookOut for Child Abuse (iLookOut) was designed to increase knowledge and improve attitudes about mandated reporting of child abuse for Early Childhood Caregivers and Educators. A perennial challenge for educational interventions is how to help learners retain and apply what they have learned. The goal of this project is to examine the effectiveness of digital scaffolding procedures to increase learner engagement and motivation.

Research Team

Profile photo for Carlomagno Panlilio, Ph.D.
Carlomagno Panlilio, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology

project

Incidence Rates and Risk Factors for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Rural and Urban Counties in Pennsylvania

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) project seeks to estimate the prevalence and typologies of CSEC in Pennsylvania. Funded by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, the CSEC study involves reviewing and coding over 2,000 Pennsylvania's Children and Youth Services investigation records over a 2-year span. The goals of this study are to estimate the incidence of CSEC in the participating counties, to assess rural and urban differences in the incidence and typologies of CSEC, and to identify risk and protective factors for CSEC.  This research aims to inform current statewide efforts to develop and implement screening tools to detect children vulnerable to or affected by CSEC. Drs. Miyamoto, Pinto, and Font lead this project, and are assisted by undergraduate research assistants involved with the Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies (CMAS) minor at Penn State.

Research Team

Profile photo for Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.
Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Principal Investigator: DOJ/OVC Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center

Profile photo for Sarah A. Font, Ph.D.
Sarah A. Font, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology

grant

Using Telemedicine Technology to Enhance Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Exams

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.
Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Principal Investigator: DOJ/OVC Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center

project

Implementation Trial of a Validated Clinical Decision Rule for Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (P50 HD089922)

To increase the accuracy of doctors’ decisions to launch or forgo child abuse evaluations in their young, acutely head-injured patients, Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network (PediBIRN) investigators derived and validated a 4-variable clinical decision rule (CDR) that detects abusive head trauma (AHT) with 96% sensitivity in pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) settings. Applied at PICU admission as an AHT screening tool, the CDR categorizes young, acutely head-injured patients as high risk vs. low risk, and recommends thorough abuse evaluations for all high risk patients.

Our ‘CDR Implementation Trial’ across eight PICUs will assess the CDR’s actual impact on AHT screening accuracy. Our ‘stratified cluster randomized trial’ design will facilitate direct comparison of child abuse evaluations at four, randomly selected, control sites to four matched intervention sites, where we will deploy active, multifaceted, implementation strategies designed to promote CDR acceptability and application. Based on our strong Preliminary Studies, we predict that CDR adoption as an AHT screening tool will increase AHT detection; reduce overall abuse evaluations and their associated risks; reduce unwarranted variation in current AHT screening practices; minimize the adverse impacts of doctors’ inherent biases, uncertainty, and practice disparities; reduce AHT-associated acute health care costs in PICU settings; and save the lives of children who will be reinjured and killed if their AHT is missed or unrecognized. 

Research Team

Profile photo for Kent Hymel, M.D.
Kent Hymel, M.D.

Child Abuse Pediatrician, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital

Professor of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine

grant

Emerging Adulthood for Maltreated and Foster Youth

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Sarah A. Font, Ph.D.
Sarah A. Font, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology

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