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VAWC Affiliates

Faculty Affiliates

Victoria Banyard, PhD

Victoria Banyard, now the Associate Director of the Center, has dedicated her academic career to finding better ways to help communities prevent and respond to interpersonal violence. Banyard – who received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (and a Certificate in Women's Studies) from the University of Michigan – has worked with colleagues across the U.S. and abroad to help shape policy at the national, state and local level through a rigorous examination of violence-prevention programs centered on a critical question: Do they work? Banyard uses multiple methods, both quantitative and qualitative, to understand how, where and why prevention strategies and programs succeed or not. Her research, begun more than 25 years ago, underscores the importance of listening well to survivors and empowering those in a position to help them – be they policy makers, social workers, or bystanders – with the best practices available. Originally from New Jersey, Vicki is excited to return to the Garden State and join the School of Social Work faculty. She is eager to meet new colleagues and students at Rutgers – to learn from them, and join in their important work. 

Edward Alessi, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Alessi is an associate professor in the School of Social Work. His research aims to improve understanding of stress and trauma among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations and enhance clinical practice with LGBT and other marginalized populations. In June 2017, he was named Rutgers Chancellor’s Scholar, an award created to support faculty excellence at the Associate Professor level. His research has been published in journals such as Psychological TraumaChild Abuse & NeglectPsychotherapy, Psychotherapy Research, and The Journal of Sex Research. Dr. Alessi’s current projects examine how stress and trauma influence the integration experiences of LGBT immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He served as guest editor for the Clinical Social Work Journal’s first special issue on Clinical Practice with LGBTQ Populations. Dr. Alessi has also been recognized for his teaching. He was awarded the Rutgers University Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2017. In addition, he received the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award four years in a row (2013-16). A clinical social worker since 2001, he has worked primarily in outpatient mental health and has been an independent practitioner since 2004.


Antoinette Farmer, PhD

 Antoinette Y. Farmer (Ph. D., University of Pittsburgh, 1991) is professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Rutgers University's School of Social Work. Her research focuses on examining the social and interpersonal factors that affect parenting as well as how parenting practices influence adolescent high risk behaviors, such as delinquency and substance use. This research agenda has been greatly influenced by the work of Jay Belsky, and she has also modified his ecological model as reflected in her research examining the buffering effect of social support on the relationship between parenting stress and parenting behavior. Her work in the area of parenting has led her to develop and test models to determine what variables may mediate the relationship between parenting and adolescent outcomes. She is also beginning to examine the effects of fathers' parenting practices on adolescents high risk behaviors. Her work has also examined the effects of religion/spirituality on adolescent high risk behaviors. In order to carry out her research agenda, she conducts quantitative data analysis using large national data sets. Her research has been published in Social Work, Journal of Social Service Research, and Children and Youth Services Review. She co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Social Service Research, which was devoted to informing researchers of the methodological issues confronting them when conducting research with minority and oppressed populations. She has also written several chapters on this issue as well, with the most recent appearing in the Handbook of Social Work Research Methods (2nd Edition). She has served as a consulting editor for Social Work in Education and on the editorial board for Children in Schools. Dr. Farmer has also presented at numerous national and international conferences.

Emily Bosk, PhD

Emily Bosk is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Health, Health Policy, and Aging Research, the Center for Violence Against Women and Children, and the Department of Sociology. Trained as both a sociologist and a clinical social worker, Dr. Bosk works at the intersection of social theory and applied practice.  Her research uses rigorous social science methods to theorize how organizations and individuals understand and intervene with vulnerable children and families and to trace out the policy and practice implications of these approaches. 

Current research includes: analysis of standardized decision-making in child welfare at the individual, organizational, and policy level; issues related to the lack of integration of social service systems for families; understandings of ‘badness’ in young children and adolescents; programs to support parent-child relationships and infant mental health.

Dr. Bosk has held fellowships in The Prevention of Child Maltreatment and the Promotion of Child Wellbeing through the Doris Duke Foundation and in Clinical Social Work in the Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services Division at the Yale Child Study Center. Her work has been funded by grants from The National Science Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation.

Committed to translating her research work for policymakers and practitioners, Dr. Bosk has provided consultation to child welfare agencies in several states. 

Jacquelynn Duron, PhD

Jacquelynn Duron is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work. Duron conducts research on issues related to children, youth, and families with emphasis on the     intersection of family and justice systems. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on child welfare, trauma, child well-being, and juvenile justice. Specifically, she pursues      work that seeks to prevent child sexual abuse through multi-system interventions. Her research interest stems from her practice and research experience working with youth and families in multiple settings from a teen health clinic to a juvenile justice facility. She has over 10 years of experience as a social worker, with over seven years of experience as a clinical social worker.

Her past study examined the factors related to a decision to prosecute child sexual abuse cases. Her current study examines recidivism among justice-involved adolescent males participating in a community-based mentoring program. Her research has been supported by the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being and the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.



Dorothy Hodgson, PhD

Dorothy L. Hodgson is Professor of Anthropology and the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Graduate Studies at Rutgers University.   She is the author or editor of ten books, including, most recently Gender, Justice and the Problem of Culture: From Customary Law to Human Rights in Tanzania (Indiana, 2017) and Global Africa (California, 2017; with Judith Byfield). See for more information. 





Debra Patterson, PhD, MA, LMSW

Dr. Patterson is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. She holds a Ph.D. in community psychology with a concentration in organizational and social change from Michigan State University. Her research examines sexual assault victims/survivors’ barriers to help-seeking; culturally specific trauma-informed services; sexual assault nurse examiner programs; and improving professional and familial responses towards survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence. Her research also focuses on training attrition, knowledge attainment and retention, competency development. She has been working in the violence against women field since 1996 and is the former director of a rape crisis center in Southeast Michigan. She can be contacted at




N. Andrew Peterson, PhD

N. Andrew Peterson, Ph.D. is a Professor with the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. He earned his Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1998. His research examines the mechanisms through which community organizations promote empowerment and community change. His work also focuses on preventing community-level problems (e.g., tobacco outlet density, alcohol outlet density, density of vacant and abandoned housing, etc.) that contribute to social and health disparities. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of a study funded by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services to evaluate the implementation of a new statewide prevention infrastructure that identifies communities based on epidemiological analyses and implements evidence-based and culturally-competent prevention strategies.





Dr. Qiana Brown

 Dr. Qiana Brown is an epidemiologist and advanced generalist licensed certified social worker (LCSW). She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work and at the School of Public Health, Department of Urban-Global Public Health at Rutgers University. Dr. Brown’s research uses a person-in-environment approach to examine the role of the built and social environment in shaping substance use and other health outcomes among women, youth, and families – with an emphasis on examining substance use among pregnant and non-pregnant reproductive-age women. Dr. Brown’s peer-reviewed research has been published in top-tier journals, to include JAMA. Dr. Brown directs the Substance Use Research Evaluation and Maternal and Child Health (SURE MatCH) Group at the School of Social Work’s Center for Prevention Science. She also directs the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Public Health Training Program at the School of Public Health. Dr. Brown earned her Ph.D. in drug dependence epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in substance abuse epidemiology at Columbia University. Both her pre- and postdoctoral research fellowships were funded by NIDA T32 training grants in epidemiology and biostatistics. In addition to research, Dr. Brown founded and directs a non-profit, community-based, substance abuse treatment center – Jane’s House of Inspiration – where she focuses on helping women, families, and communities address problems related to substance use disorders.

Research Affiliates

Yasemin Irvin-Erickson, PhD

Yasemin Irvin-Erickson is a senior research associate in the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. Her research focuses on crime prevention and social protection through the lens of inclusive growth and sustainable development. Irvin-Erickson directs projects on economic resilience of women and girls, refugees, and geographies disproportionately affected by violent crimes. She is also an associate editor for Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal.

Before joining Urban, Irvin-Erickson was the research director for global mapping at Rutgers Center on Public Security and a lecturer at Rutgers University–Newark, where she taught crime analysis, statistics, and research methods. Her research has been presented at national and international conferences and appeared in peer-reviewed publications and research briefs. Irvin-Erickson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Middle East Technical University, a master’s degree in forensic science from Istanbul University Institute of Forensic Sciences, and a doctorate degree in criminal justice from Rutgers School of Criminal Justice.


Amanda Stylianou, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Amanda M. Stylianou @amstylianou, is a social worker who focuses her career on improving services at the intersection of trauma, mental health and poverty. In her role as Associate Vice President of Quality and Program Development at Safe Horizon, the nation's leading victim services agency, she works with her team to ensure the organization is providing the most effective and efficient services to clients throughout NYC. Her current research focuses on understanding the needs of victims/survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking and on understanding and evaluating practices in the field. In addition to her work at Safe Horizon, Dr. Stylianou teaches in the MSW program at Rutgers University and offers several CEU trainings throughout New Jersey with Rutgers University's Institute for Families. Dr. Stylianou has published in a variety of journals including Social Work, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violence against Women, Violence and Victims, Affilia and Children and Youth Services Review. 

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