Biography Curriculum Vitae

Sonia Minnes, PhD

Associate Professor

PhD, Case Western Reserve University
MA, Cleveland State University
BS Psychology, Pennsylvania State University

Visit my Google Scholar Citation Page

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Room 316
Case Western Reserve University
11235 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44106


Sonia Minnes has been an Associate Professor of Social Work at the Mandel School since July, 2009. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and a doctorate in social welfare from the Mandel School. She joined the Case Western Reserve University faculty as an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in 2004. Her research interests are in the study of child development and the multiple factors that affect cognitive and mental health outcomes. Curriculum Vitae

Sonia Minnes in Poland

Forum newsletter with an article about Sonia’s trip

Minnes, S., Singer, L. T., Min, M. O., Lang, A. M., Ben-Harush, A., Short, E., & Wu, M. (In press). Comparison of 12-year-old children with prenatal exposure to cocaine and non-exposed controls on caregiver ratings of executive function.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Lewis, B. A., Minnes, S., Short, E. J., Min, M. O., Wu, M., Lang, A., & Singer, L. T. (In press). Language outcomes at 12 years for children exposed prenatally to cocaine.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Brown, S., Jun, M., Min, M.O., Tracy, E.M. (2013) Impact of dual disorders, trauma, and social support on quality of life among women in treatment for substance dependence. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 9 (1), 61-71.

Min, M.O., Minnes, S., Kim, H., Singer, L.T. (2013) Pathways linking childhood maltreatment and adult physical health. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37 (6), 361–373.

Min, M. O., Singer, L. T., Minnes, S.Kim, H., & Short, E. (2013). Mediating links between maternal childhood trauma and preadolescent behavioral adjustment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(4), 831-850.

Minnes, S., Min, M.O., Singer, L.T., Edguer, M., Wu, M., & Thi, P. (2012). Cocaine use during pregnancy and health outcome after 10 years.  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 126, 71-79.

Aguirre McLaughlin, A., Minnes, S., Singer, L. T., Short, E. J., Linares-Scott, T., Satayathum, S., & Min, M. (2011). Caregiver and self-report of mental health symptoms in 9-year old cocaine-exposed children, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33, 582–591.

Lewis, B. A., Minnes, S., Short, E., Weishampel, P., Satayathum, S., Min, M. O., Nelson, S., & Singer, L. T. (2011). The effects of prenatal cocaine on language development at 10 years of age. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33, 17–24.

McLaughlin, A.A.,Minnes, S., Singer, L.T., Min, M.O., Short, E.J., Linares Scott, T., & Satayathum, S. (2011). Caregiver and self-report of mental health symptoms in 9-year old children with prenatal cocaine exposure.  Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33, 582–591.

Minnes, S., Singer, L. T., & Lang, A. (2011). Prenatal drug exposure: Developmental outcomes and practice implications. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 6(1), 57–70.

Ridenour, T. A., Minnes, S., Maldonado-Molina, M. M. Reynolds, M. D., Tarter, R. E. & Clark, D. B. (2011). Psychometrics and Cross-cultural comparisons of the Illustration-based Assessment of Liability and Exposure to Substance Use and Antisocial Behavior for Children. The Open Family Studies Journal, 4 (Suppl. 1-M2), 17–26.

Minnes, S., Singer, L. T., Kirchner, L. H., Short, E., Lewis, B., Satayathum, S., & Queah, D. (2010). The effects of prenatal cocaine-exposure on behavior in children 4-10 years. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 32, 443–451.

Singer L. T., & Minnes, S. (2010). Effects of Drugs of Abuse on the Fetus: Cocaine and Opiates including Heroin. In P. Preece and E. Riley (Eds.), Alcohol, drugs and medication in pregnancy: The long term outcome for the child (Clinics in Developmental Medicine No.188, pp. 130–152) London, England: Gillian McKeith Press.

Min, M. O., Singer, L. T., Minnes,S., Kirchner, H. L., & Nelson, S. (2009). Cognitive development and low-level lead exposure in poly-drug exposed children. Neurotoxicology & Teratology, 31, 225–231.

Sonia Minnes in the News:

Minnes Receives Research Award from Teratology Society

Jun 29 2017

Associate Professor Sonia Minnes, PhD, is the recipient of the 2017 Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award in Research and Mentoring from The Teratology Society. The award was presented Teratology Society’s Annual Meeting on June 25, 2017, in Denver, where Dr. Minnes presented “Project Newborn: What We Have Learned from 20 Years of Research on Prenatal Cocaine Exposure?”

The Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award in Research and Mentoring is given by the Teratology Society to recognize individuals who conduct successful independent research in neurobehavioral teratology, birth defects, or other fields involving the central nervous system. The recipient of this award must also show commitment to mentorship of students, postdoctoral fellows, and young investigators. The society cited Dr. Minnes’ work with Project Newborn and its impactful findings on the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure.

Dr. Minnes has a Secondary Appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Environmental Health Sciences. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and a Doctorate in Social Welfare from the Mandel School. The majority of her research focuses on the study of child development, and she is currently the principle investigator of Project Newborn at Case Western Reserve University.

Project Newborn is a longitudinal study that began in 1994 at Case Western Reserve University to examine negative health outcomes for both babies and mothers during the growing nationwide crack cocaine epidemic. With Minnes as project coordinator, researchers began to track the growth and development of over 400 babies born at MetroHealth Medical Center. Half of the babies born in this study had been exposed to cocaine before birth. The babies were all tracked throughout childhood and adolescence for adverse behaviors such as substance abuse and anti-social behavior. In 2015, Project Newborn was given a $2.5 million dollar grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue research over the next four years. Now that the original children in the Project Newborn Study are adults, this grant will allow researchers to study the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure during adulthood.

The Teratology Society is a multinational organization focused on understanding and preventing hazards that effect development. Members of this society include public health professionals, epidemiologists, researchers and clinicians studying birth defects, reproduction, and disorders of developmental origin.

Apply Now for Ecuador and India; Upcoming Info Sessions

Mar 31 2017

Interested in experiential and interdisciplinary learning in Ecuador or India? Want to take your passion for social change international? Seeking to become a big picture thinker?

The Mandel School is now accepting applications for its popular short-term study abroad courses during Winter Break:

+ Ecuador: Health, Human and Social Development (SASS 375A/575; 3 credits)

+ India: Global Health and Social Development (SASS 375G/575; 3 credits)

These courses are open to ALL Case Western Reserve University students and count toward elective course credit, Global and Cultural Diversity credit, Social Science credit for Engineering majors, or toward a Social Work minor for undergraduates.

Information sessions about Ecuador and India study abroad opportunities will be held throughout the month of April at the following dates and times around campus:

Mandel School Room #236:

  • Friday, April 14 – 12:30pm-1:30pm
  • Thursday, April 201:00pm-2:00pm
  • Friday, April 2112:30pm-1:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 251:00pm-2:00pm

Tinkham Veale University Center (info table 11:00am-2:00pm):

  • Monday, April 3
  • Wednesday, April 5
  • Wednesday, April 12
  • Wednesday, April 19

Nord Hall Atrium (info table 11:00am-2:00pm):

  • Friday, April 7
  • Tuesday, April 11

Students with questions or who are interested in a one-on-one meeting should contact Valerie Rambin, Mandel School Study Abroad Program Manager, at

$2.5 Million NIH Grant Will Launch Next Phase of Project Newborn Research

Feb 20 2015

MinnesbSince 1994, researchers at the Mandel School have studied children prenatally exposed to cocaine and their mothers to track their development from birth through adolescence. With a new four-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; award number R01 DA007957), those children—now young adults—enter the next phase of the long-term Project Newborn study.

“In this new study, we will have an opportunity to understand the challenges Project Newborn participants have as adults,” said Sonia Minnes, PhD, associate professor of social work, who is leading the study, “The Effects of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure in Emerging Adulthood.”

This month, Dr. Minnes and her team of researchers will begin examining how the effects of early cocaine exposure—which, for many of the subjects, resulted in drug use and anti-social behavior as adolescents—may have shifted as they’ve entered their 20s.

They will revisit 359 participants from the original Project Newborn study. Of that total, 183 were prenatally exposed to cocaine, while 176 were not. The two groups have been compared at various stages since the study began to measure the possible effects of pre-birth cocaine exposure on child development.

The new study will focus on three areas: Substance abuse, anti-social behaviors and adaptive functioning (educational attainment, vocational status and quality of relationships). Researchers will also examine the long-term effects of elevated levels of lead, iron deficiencies and living with non-relatives.

Researchers hope to use what they learn to develop interventions timed to when prenatally drug-exposed children may be most susceptible to using drugs, getting involved in criminal activities and dropping out of school.

The new phase builds on 20 years of research initiated by Lynn T. Singer, PhD, Case Western Reserve’s deputy provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine. She launched the project in 1994 in response to national concerns for babies being born to drug-addicted mothers.

The children—one group exposed prenatally to cocaine and another “control” group that was not—were examined several times in the first two years and again at ages 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15 and 17.

The researchers found that children in foster and adoptive care are faring better in language and cognitive development than those living with their birth mothers who used cocaine. But all tend to have similar behavior issues.

Minnes said prenatal cocaine exposure seems to result in subtle neurological deficits.

“Even as newborns, we saw subtle attention issues,” she said. Researchers also noticed that the children, as toddlers, struggled with visual recognition—remembering what they saw.

As they grew older, cocaine-exposed children had behavior problems at home and at school. They also reported more substance use and were less able to plan ahead, organize and monitor their thinking and behavior.

“School can become an unpleasant place to be, and some already dropped out,” Minnes said.

In the study’s next phase, researchers hope to learn whether, as young adults, the participants have been able to overcome some of those challenges.

About half the children are no longer with their biological mothers or relatives; one-fourth are in foster care or have been adopted, Minnes said. Twelve children have died since the study began. Others have moved, but continue to participate, she said.