Kay Jankowski, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, has received the Article of the Year Award for 2019 from Child Maltreatment, a leading peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).
Founded in 1986, the APSAC is a non-profit, national organization focused on meeting the needs of professionals engaged in all aspects of services for maltreated children and their families.
“It’s a really nice honor to be recognized by my peers in this way,” says Jankowski, a practicing psychologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock who directs the Dartmouth Trauma Intervention Research Center. “And it’s a wonderful opportunity to shine the spotlight on child welfare, which is an area that doesn’t always get a lot of attention.”
Jankowski’s paper, published in February of 2019 and entitled Effectiveness of a Trauma-informed Care Initiative in a State Child Welfare System: A Randomized Study, reported on the successful implementation of a web-based screening program to identify children with post-traumatic symptoms and other mental health problems.
The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, used a rigorous study design that included linking the screenings to effective case planning and evidence-based treatments, as well as training mental health providers across the state in trauma-informed care. Child welfare staff were then surveyed on how their practices and perceptions changed as a result of the intervention.
“It was very much a team effort that led to the award being given, involving folks here in psychiatry and our colleagues at the Center for Program Design and Evaluation at Geisel,” she says. “We’re also indebted to the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families and our state child welfare system who allowed us to do this and partnered with us.”
While pleased with the implementation effort, Jankowski says, “I think we also realized how challenging it is to make these kinds of changes in a system that is as complex as a child welfare system. There’s often a disconnect between what we know to be effective and what people out in the community are actually doing. And that’s really what we’re focused on—trying to bring best practices into real-world settings to improve public health.”
Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.