Each month, the Office of Sponsored Programs will spotlight a different PI and their research. If you are interested in being featured in our next spotlight, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . Please be sure to provide us with an abstract (3-5 paragraphs) about your research, explanation of your recent project, the amount your project (s) were funded for, special events that you are hosting or coordinating, obstacles or challenges you faced during the application process, if applicable, and a photo of yourself .
Cathy Spatz Widom, PhD Professor, Department of Psychology
Dr. Cathy Spatz Widom is a Distinguished Professor in the Psychology Department at John Jay College and a member of the Graduate Center faculty, City University of New York. Pro-fessor Widom has been the principal investigator (PI) of a lon-gitudinal study of the long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect since its inception in 1986. The study was original-ly designed as an archival study to test a series of assumptions about the “cycle of violence”, or the idea that children who were physically abused go on to become perpetrators of vio-lence as adolescents and adults.
However, since that time, the project has been extended in grants from the National Institute of Justice and the scope of the original study has been expanded to assess multiple do-mains of functioning potentially affected by childhood victimi-zation, including mental health, alcohol and drug use and abuse, revictimization, and economic productivity, service uti-lization, physical health outcomes, and the intergenerational transmission of child neglect and abuse. In the process, Profes-sor Widom has collaborated with colleagues from many differ-ent disciplines (e.g., economics, genetics, anthropology, crimi-nology, medicine, dentistry, pediatrics, psychology, psychiatry, public health, sociology, and statistics) and has published pa-pers in medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminology, crimi-nal justice, and child maltreatment journals. In addition, she has published two papers in Science, one in 1989 and one in 2015. In 2013, Widom was honored to receive the Edwin H. Sutherland award from the American Society of Criminology and in 2016 she was awarded the Stockholm Prize in Criminol-ogy.
Dr. Widom has long been concerned about training and mentoring younger colleagues to encourage them to be-come involved in conducting research in the field of child abuse and neglect. Widom served on the National Re-search Council committee that produced the 1993 report on child abuse and neglect and served on the more recent Institute of Medicine Committee on Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade that wrote the 2013 report on child abuse and neglect. She has a strong commitment to mentoring younger colleagues by providing opportunities to participate in the design of these follow-up studies, to present at professional meet-ings, and to publish study findings. In addition, she sought out and was awarded two minority supplements to her earlier National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) grant because of her commitment to provide and mentor under-represented minority scholars, so as to increase the pipeline of qualified researchers who will be able to contribute to the study of these important public health issues. Widom was PI on an R13 grant for the Translational Research in Child Neglect Consortium and she is now the PI with a colleague from Washington Uni-versity in St. Louis, Missouri (Dr. Melissa Jonson-Reid) on a grant that is designed to hold annual summer train-ing institutes for research on child abuse and neglect with the purpose of building a pipeline of researchers in this field. In May 2017, the institute will be held in St. Louis, but in years two and four of the five year grant, the sum-mer training institute will be held at John Jay in New York City.
Dr. Widom is a fellow of the three divisions of American Psychological Association (Division 41 - Psychology and Law, Division 43 – Society for Family Psychology, and Division 37 – Child and Family Policy and Practice), the American Psychopathological Association, and the American Society of Criminology. A former faculty member at Harvard, Indiana, University at Albany (SUNY), and New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Widom was co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology from 2010-2013 and has served on the editorial boards of psychology, crimi-nology, and child maltreatment journals. She is a frequent consultant on national review panels and has been in-vited to testify before congressional and state committees. She has published extensively on the long-term conse-quences of child abuse and neglect, including numerous papers on the cycle of violence. Dr. Widom serves on the Committee on Law and Justice at the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences at the National Research Council (NRC) and was a member of the Institute of Medicine Study panel, Committee on Child Maltreatment Re-search, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade (2012-2013).