Daniel Flannery, PhD
Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor
Director of Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education
In the News
Oct 5 2015
The United States Department of Justice announced that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and its partners will receive nearly $2 million over the next three years to accelerate the work of bringing rapists to justice, assisting the survivors of those crimes and changing the culture of law enforcement here and throughout the country when it comes to investigating sexual assaults.
Listen to Rachel Lovell explain the SAK initiative on WKSU’s Morning Edition
As part of this initiative, the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Mandel School has been awarded a three-year, $465,000 grant to analyze Ohio’s procedures for alleviating the backlog of Sexual Assault Kits. The CWRU team is using data compiled by the task force to understand what led to the backlog of kits and to provide recommendations, best practices and training to prevent it from happening again.
The Begun research team, consisting of Rachel Lovell, Fred Butcher, Laura T. Overman, and Tiffany Walker, will be conducting a mixed-method process evaluation of all aspects of the investigation, victim advocacy, and prosecution of the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) cases.
“Cuyahoga County is probably further along, if not the most successful city in the United States in prosecuting these unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits,” says Dr. Lovell, a Senior Research Associate at the Center. “But they have yet to assess the process — what works, what doesn’t work, what about the process caused and could prevent future backlogs. From our research and evaluation, we will develop a white paper or a series of papers and training materials that will be used as a best practices for Cleveland to refine their process, as well as for other cities that are just starting to test the SAKs.”
“We will also expand on our current efforts to code the SAK cases now to see what information should investigators collect to identify patterns, solve cases, and support successful prosecution earlier,” Rachel says. “Coding cases in order to see what factors affect prosecutorial outcomes. What kinds of cases drop off at certain points? In an effort to improve successful investigation and prosecution of sexual assault that also adequately support and respect victims.”
Jun 10 2015
Begun Director to speak as part of the Global Center for Health Innovationat the Cleveland Convention Center; also appointed to panel on bullying prevention for the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences
Begun Center director, Daniel Flannery, Ph.D, will be presenting in June as part of a panel for the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Pediatric Innovation Summit, an evidence-based review and update of topics in pediatric care recently impacted by new data, screening tools, and/or treatments.
Dr. Flannery has also been appointed to a panel on bullying prevention for the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences, an 18-month study that will see the publication of a final report.
THE SUMMIT, held on June 11-13, will focus on the most important clinical practice innovations in the past year with sessions focused on a review of the medical literature and an immunization update. Other related topics include clinical practice updates in diagnosis and management of neonatal conditions, puberty, common urologic problems, dermatology, ophthalmology, and care of the medically complex child. The Summit will also highlight, through the panel discussion, the future of pediatric health care
The summit is designed for health care providers looking for an in-depth analysis of the crucial data and clinical practice implications by the top experts in their fields. The summit is intended to educate physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, and other allied health professionals in cardiology, pediatrics, family medicine, psychology, and psychiatry. Family members and patients living with autism and ADHD will also find the Saturday symposium to be informative and provide opportunities to clarify management and treatments regarding patient care.
Jun 5 2015
The 54-question Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) has been used for decades to test how trauma affects youth in hopes of developing the best treatment and support possible. But interpreting the results can be labor intensive and difficult because the work is done manually and involves a complex matrix from which to draw conclusions.
Now, a social work research team at the Mandel School led by Fredrick Butcher, PhD, (left) a research associate at the Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, has proposed and tested an alternative method to use the TSCC in assessing trauma in children—especially those in the juvenile justice system.
Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. developed the tool and trauma-related questions in 1996. It’s been used around the U.S. and in countries like Sweden and China. The new methods change neither the tool itself nor the questions involved, but rather how workers assess and, ultimately, apply the results.
“Ultimately, it is all about whether the tool is easy to interpret,” Butcher said. “Some kids may have issues in several areas, but when you examine them together, you get a better sense of the severity of the issues they are having.”
Butcher and his team focused on how six mental health factors associated with a child’s trauma (anxiety, anger, dissociation, depression, sexual concerns and posttraumatic stress) were linked and scored.
The Begun Center research team analyzed TSCC test results from 2006 to 2013 for 2,268 children, age 8 to 17, in an Ohio Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice program that diverts young people from incarceration to community-based agencies to work on behavioral, substance abuse and mental health problems. Each child was assessed, as part of their intake into the program so that treatment can be targeted to their behavioral health needs, Butcher said.
The researchers found that traditional TSCC scoring worked to assess their trauma. But when looking at the total score alone, Butcher said a “muddied” picture emerged—one that didn’t provide enough details for appropriately assessing youth and targeting treatment.
Instead, Butcher and his team found that grouping the factors into two areas—one for anxiety, dissociation and post-traumatic stress and the other for anger and depression—made analyzing the results easier and more accurate.
Social workers were given options on how to score the tests, from using a child’s total score to tallying anger and depression responses for one score and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and dissociation responses for another.
Reducing scoring to two groups, Butcher said, can lighten the work burden on social workers and still provide enough useful information to design treatment programs.
“The alternative two-scale solution is not necessarily faster to score,” he said, “but it is much easier to interpret.”
The next step is to test this approach more broadly and determine how the results align with outcomes – both in terms of the accuracy of assessments, and the influence of treatment plans developed from them.
A description of how the new scoring works is detailed in the summer issue of Journal of Society for Social Work and Research’s article, “Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children in an At-Risk Sample of Youth.”
The study was supported with a grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (4AS3190) to Jeffrey M. Kretschmar, PhD, a contributor to the project who is a research assistant professor at the Mandel School and a Senior Research Associate at the Begun Center.
Daniel J. Flannery, the Dr. Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor at the Mandel School and director of the Begun Center, and Mark I. Singer, the Leonard W. Mayo Professor of Family and Child Welfare and deputy director of the Begun Center, also contributed to the research.