Kaela Byers, Ph.D. candidate, University of Kansas School for Social Welfare, will join the third cohort of the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being -- seeking innovations to prevent child abuse and neglect. The 15 fellows were chosen from a highly competitive applicant pool by a panel of experts convened by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. These fellowships are designed to identify and develop a new generation of leaders interested in and capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation's ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. The fellowships are generously funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
“The best strategies for preventing abuse and neglect will come from an innovative and well-prepared workforce—one that is not bound by the limits of any single traditional academic discipline,” said Chapin Hall Senior Research Fellow Deborah Daro, who oversees the initiative. “By providing opportunities for this diverse group of scholars to learn from each other, the fellowship creates a rich context for nurturing new knowledge on the dynamics of abuse and neglect and how best to promote child well-being.”
Each Fellow has identified two mentors—an academic mentor to supervise the content and rigor of their research, and a policy mentor to maximize the impact of their research on policy and practice. Ms. Byers’s academic mentor is Dr. Tom McDonald, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean of Research, University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Her Policy Mentor is Dr. David Lindeman, Ph.D., Director of the Lifespan Institute at Parsons, Senior Scientist at the Bureau of Child Research, and Courtesy Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and the University of Kansas.
Chapin Hall has established a peer learning network that brings together the Fellows from all three cohorts, their mentors, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers across a number of disciplines, including social work, psychology, medicine, law, child development, education, public policy , and public health. Ms. Byers’s research focuses on buffering toxic stress in early childhood to prevent childhood social-emotional disruption and promote child well-being. Ms. Byers is a research assistant at the Office of Child Welfare and Children’s Mental Health at KU where she works on projects related to the implementation of evidenced-based practices in community mental health and early childhood settings.