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CDA Alumni Spotlight: Recent Publications

Posted by on Thursday, March 5, 2020 in Alumni.

CDA alums across the country may all be working on various issues but they all leave with the same set of durable Vanderbilt skills. As an interdisciplinary program, CDA ensures graduates are prepared for their next steps by grounding their education in rigorous academic study. Below are some examples of ways that alums have used their CDA skills to advocate for change.


Blogs and Popular Articles:


Abby Hyman on Self Care:


Sarah Imran on Gender Parity: https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2018/03/08/women-have-long-way-go-reach-parity-men/404500002/

Brendan O’Connor on Race and Healing: http://blackbeltfound.org/my-ancestors-are-many-things-enslavers-of-african-people-irish-immigrants-confederate-soldiers-civil-rights-activists/ 


Scholarly Articles:


Baer, L., & Diehl, D. (2019). Foster care for teenagers: Motivators, barriers, and strategies to overcome barriers. Children and Youth Services Review, 103, 264–277. 



Abstract: There has long been a shortage of homes for teenagers in foster care due in part to the reality that many people who foster choose not to foster teenagers. An understanding of factors that influence people’s willingness to foster teenagers might support an increased supply of available homes for teenagers. Through this qualitative study, we explored why some foster parents are motivated to foster teenagers, what barriers prevent other foster parents from fostering teenagers, and whether there are effective strategies for foster parents to overcome barriers to fostering teenagers. The first author collected data through 19 semi-structured interviews with 16 foster parents and 6 foster care agency staff in Tennessee and used the constant-comparative method to analyze the data and allow grounded theory to emerge. Through this study, we found that people were motivated to foster teenagers by a combination of overarching motivators and teen-specific motivators. Overarching motivators, which influence people who do foster teenagers as well as those who do not, included making a difference and having a family. Financial compensation emerged as an overarching facilitator of fostering. Teen-specific motivators were both foster parent-oriented – ability, lifestyle, passion, preference, and satisfaction – and teenager-oriented – compassion and teenagers’ progress. Key barriers to fostering teenagers were also foster parent-oriented – desire to raise children from a young age and preference – as well as teenager-oriented – bad experience, fear, and stereotyping. Strategies for foster parents to overcome barriers to fostering teenagers that emerged through this study were firsthand experience with teenagers in foster care, especially through respite care, and secondhand learning about things like trauma and youth’s needs, and agencies are able to facilitate both types of strategies. These findings have implications for research, policy, and practice.


Brown, J., Clark, D., & Pooley, A. (2019). Exploring the use of neurofeedback therapy in mitigating symptoms of traumatic brain injury in survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma (1-20).



Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by an acute injury to the head, neck, or face, such as a blunt force trauma. Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are at high risk for TBI, given how frequently they are repeatedly struck in the head. An abundance of evidence indicates that even “mild” TBI can have lifelong impacts, including personality and behavioral changes. TBI often goes undiagnosed in survivors as most do not seek medical treatment for their injuries. Given the lack of diagnoses, these symptoms may often be overlooked or misunderstood. One emerging method for treating the symptoms of TBI is neurofeedback (NF). NF is a type of biofeedback that uses operant conditioning to regulate activity in various regions of the brain. NF can lead to better cognitive performance and emotional self-regulation. Given the potentially high rate of TBI in IPV, it is worth exploring if NF can reduce the symptoms that negatively impact survivors. The current study explores the use of NF to treat IPV survivors who experienced head injury and, as such, probable TBI (N = 32). Survivors participated in a quantitative EEG (qEEG) to locate problem areas of the brain and participated in assessments, before and after treatment, to examine constructs such as depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Results show significant differences in both the qEEG data and written assessments following the completion of NF. These results suggest NF could mitigate symptoms of probable TBI in IPV survivors.


Clark, D., Bauchspies, W., & Nawyn, S. (2019). Feminist transformative leadership from inside the university. Psychology of Women and Equalities (44-52).



As universities grapple with institutional change that tackles gendered and sexual violence, feminist academic leadership is crucial to effecting that change. We use as a case example the Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen) at Michigan State University to explore the opportunities and limitations of feminist administrators leading campus movements challenging sexist, racist and heteronormative cultures at a university in crisis. We aim to contribute to the emerging literature on gendered organisations and feminist leadership to place it into dialogue with the everyday world of leadership and practices of an organisation committed to feminist principles and social justice.


McCauley, E. (2019). The potential of college completion: How disability shapes labor market activity differentially by educational attainment and disability type. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, https://doi.org/10.1177/1044207319848082.


Abstract: I conducted a descriptive analysis of how disability shapes labor market activity differentially by educational attainment and disability type using the American Community Survey, 2015 (N = 1,504,947) and linear probability models. Having a disability is associated with a decrease in the probability of labor force participation (proportion of those employed or seeking employment; 𝑏=−0.34) and employment (proportion of those in the labor market who are employed; 𝑏=−0.05). When differentiated by disability type, education moderates the relationship between disability and labor force participation for all disability types. However, education only moderates the relationship between disability and employment for those with cognitive-, physical-, and mobility-related disabilities (not sensory or self-care). Having a bachelor’s degree is associated with a 30.68% higher probability of labor force participation and a 26.84% higher probability of employment among those in the labor force than having some college, indicating higher education may be a pivotal intervention point. The relationships between disability and labor force participation and disability and employment vary by disability type, as does the role of education.


Whitmore CC, White MN, Buntin MB, Fry CE, Calamari K, Patrick SW. State laws and policies to reduce opioid-related harm. A qualitative assessment of PDMPs and naloxone programs in ten US states. 2019 Mar. 13: 249-255 Preventive Medicine Reports. [Epub 30 December 2018].



As the magnitude of the opioid epidemic grew in recent years, individual states across the United States of America enacted myriad policies to address its complications. We conducted a qualitative examination of the structure, successes, and challenges of enacted state laws and policies aimed at the opioid epidemic, with an in-depth focus on prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and naloxone access efforts. A set of 10 states (Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia) was chosen a priori to achieve a varied sample of state policies and timing, as well as population opioid complications. Archival research was conducted to identify state-level policies aimed at the opioid epidemic and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 key stakeholders between March and September 2016. The most frequently mentioned key to success was an identifiable champion instrumental in leading the passage of these policies. The lack of a unified legislature and physician pushback were challenges many states faced in implementing policies. Champion-led task forces, stakeholders’ personal stories garnering buy-in, ongoing education and feedback to PDMP users, and inclusive stakeholder engagement are critical aspects of passing and implementing state policies aimed at combating the opioid epidemic. Engaging all interested stakeholders and providing continuing feedback are ongoing challenges in all states. Leveraging stakeholders’ personal stories of how opioids affected their lives helped propel state efforts.




Sarah Imran on the Housing Crisis: https://www.buzzsprout.com/201872/1154876

Carrie Fry on a Smoking Reduction Campaign: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/733498

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