Network Team

  • Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
  • Director Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Principal Investigator NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children
Phone: 814-867-4751
Office: 209 Health and Human Development Building
  • Assistant Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-867-4061
Office: 202 Henderson Building

Cheri McConnell

  • Education Coordinator, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-865-2193
Office: 202 Henderson Building
  • Director, Social Science Research Institute
  • Director, Children, Youth, and Families Consortium
  • Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-865-2663
Office: 114 Henderson Building

Kimberly Luxenberger

  • Administrative Support Coordinator
Phone: 814-865-8125
Office: 202E Henderson Building
  • Research Associate faculty, Social Science Research Institute
Phone: 814-865-8171
Office: 202 Henderson Building

Kathleen Zadzora, M.A.

  • Implementation Coordinator, Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative
Phone: 814-865-1164
Office: 202 Henderson Building

Network Faculty

  • Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
  • Director Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Principal Investigator NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children
Phone: 814-867-4751
Office: 209 Health and Human Development Building
Brief Bio:

Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D., is a professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, and PI of the NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children her primary research foci are the bio-psycho-social consequences of childhood sexual abuse, pathways to teen pregnancy and high-risk sexual behaviors for abused and neglected youth, the long-term adverse health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse, midlife reversibility of neurocognitive deficits in stress-exposed populations, and the propensity for abused and neglected teens to engage in high-risk internet and social media behaviors. Dr. Noll works with local, state, and federal policy makers to translate science into messages that impact child welfare policy and practice.

  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
  • Director of Mental Health Services, Center for the Protection of Children
Phone: 717-531-4100
Office: Stine Foundation TLC Research and Treatment Center (Hershey/Harrisburg)
Brief Bio:

Brian Allen, Psy.D.,is an associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and Director of Mental Health Services in the Center for the Protection of Children at the Penn State Children's Hospital. His research focuses on the developmental impact of childhood trauma and maltreatment, including the efficacy of mental health interventions in ameliorating that impact. More specifically, he investigates the role of attachment processes in post-maltreatment development and treatment outcome, the etiology and treatment of problematic sexual behavior in pre-teen children, and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments. He is responsible for directing the provision of clinical services at the Stine Foundation TLC Research and Treatment Center, an outpatient mental health program serving maltreated children and their families.

  • Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-867-6467
Office: 217 HHD Building
Brief Bio:

Christian M. Connell, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Connell received his Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina and completed pre- and postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the experiences of youth who have been maltreated, as well as those who become involved in the child welfare system and other child-serving systems (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice). His research examines individual, family, and contextual risk and protective processes that impact child behavioral health and wellbeing following incidents of maltreatment or child welfare system contact, as well as community-based efforts to prevent or treat the negative effects of maltreatment and other traumatic experiences in children and adolescents. Dr. Connell’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Administration for Children and Families, and State and local contracts.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
Phone: 814-863-2259
Office: 505 Oswald Tower
Brief Bio:

Sarah Font, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and is a faculty member of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. Dr. Font completed a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did her postdoctoral training at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include child maltreatment, child protection and foster care systems, and the use of administrative data to advance child protection and well-being.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-863-7256
Office: 219 Biobehavioral Health Building
Brief Bio:

Christine Heim, Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Dr. Heim is also a Member of the Cluster of Excellence “Neurocure” at Charité in Berlin as well as Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Member of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Heim’s research is focused on the neurobiological consequences of early-life trauma and their relationship to the development of depression, anxiety, and functional somatic disorders. The impact of her work is acknowledged in more than 14000 citations. She is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the 2015 Patricia Barchas Award in Sociophysiology of the American Psychosomatic Society. She is an elected member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She is the recipient of multiple federal grants and foundation grants, and she serves on numerous national and international scientific review committees regarding research on the consequences of childhood trauma.

  • Child Abuse Pediatrician, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital
  • Professor of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine
Phone: 717-531-5158
Office: Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics, Mail CodeH085, 500 University Drive, P.O. Box 850, Hershey, PA 17033-0850
Brief Bio:

Dr. Kent P. Hymel completed his fellowship training in Child Abuse Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado in 1996.  He has served as the U.S. Air Force Medical Consultant for Child Abuse, and has directed child abuse programs at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children and at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.  In 2014, Dr. Hymel joined the Center for the Protection of Children at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine, a past member of the AAP’s Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, a past President of the Ray E. Helfer Society—the professional society for child abuse physicians, and the Deputy Medical Editor of the Subboard in Child Abuse Pediatrics of the ABP.  Dr. Hymel founded and directs the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network, and is the Principle Investigator of an NIH-funded clinical trial testing the impact of a novel, PICU-based screening tool for pediatric abusive head trauma. 

  • Professor, Psychology Department
  • Associate Director Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Office: 219 Moore Building
Brief Bio:

Yo Jackson is a Professor in the Clinical Child Psychology Program in the Psychology department at Penn State University and the Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of resilience for youth exposed to trauma and developing models of the process from exposure to outcome for youth and families. She also studies intergenerational transmission of trauma and methods and measurement in child maltreatment research. She is a reviewer for numerous journals and serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

  • Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Associate Director of Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-863-1991
Office: 448 Moore Building
Brief Bio:

Dr. Lunkenheimer is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology and an Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network.  Her research program revolves around risk and protective processes in the parent-child relationship, with the dual goals of (1) understanding how mother-child and father-child interactions and regulatory processes contribute to developmental psychopathology and (2) uncovering malleable relationship processes that aid in the tailoring and improvement of preventive intervention programs for families at risk, particularly risk for child maltreatment.  This work is grounded in dynamic systems theory and dyadic and time series analytic methods, and has provided an understanding of parent-child biobehavioral coregulation in early childhood and its association with family risk. 

  • Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
  • Principal Investigator DOJ/OVC Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center
Phone: 814-863-4141
Office: 315c Nursing Sciences Building
Brief Bio:

Sheridan Miyamoto is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University.  Dr. Miyamoto received her Ph.D. in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Her clinical work as a Nurse Practitioner at the UC Davis Child and Adolescent Abuse Resource and Evaluation Center focused on providing health and child maltreatment forensic services to children in Northern California. She supported six rural sites through live telehealth sexual assault consultations, allowing children to receive quality care within their own community. Miyamoto’s research interests include utilizing administrative databases to improve risk tools to identify children at risk of maltreatment, identification and prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children (trafficking), the use of telehealth technology to improve sexual assault forensic care in rural communities, and the use of technology and innovation to improve patient outcomes. Miyamoto is the principal investigator of the Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center, a project funded by the Department of Justice to enhance access to quality forensic services in underserved communities.

  • Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology
  • Faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-865-0008
Office: 228 CEDAR Building
Brief Bio:

Carlomagno C. Panlilio, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at the Pennsylvania State University. The overarching goal of Dr. Panlilio’s program of research is to understand the dynamic interplay between maltreatment, context, and development, and how these processes influence individual differences in learning. His research is guided by an interdisciplinary approach that draws from Developmental Science, Educational Psychology, Statistics, and Social Welfare to examine the multisystemic influences on early adversity and children’s development and learning over time. More specifically, he is interested in further explicating self-regulation and self-regulated learning as key developmental and learning processes that explain variability in the academic outcomes of children with a history of maltreatment.

  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-863-5767
Office: BBH 206
Brief Bio:

Dr. Schreier received training in health psychology and is currently an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State. Broadly speaking, she is interested in how experiences during childhood and adolescence shape long-term chronic disease risk. Her research focuses primarily on the impact of growing up in low socioeconomic environments, of different family-level influences, and of exposure to child maltreatment and how these influence metabolic and inflammatory markers of chronic disease risk in youth. She is also interested in exploring the potential role that social interventions may be able to play in actively improving physiological outcomes among at-risk youth.

  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
  • Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development
Phone: 814-865-5764
Office: 223 Biobehavioral Health Building
Brief Bio:

Shalev’s research entails an interdisciplinary approach to identify mechanisms underpinning the biological embedding of stress across the lifespan. His research combines the disciplines of molecular genetics, endocrinology, neurobiology and psychology. This systems approach integrates data sources across multiple levels of genomic, biomarkers and phenotypic data. Specifically, using innovative research designs, his research tests the effects of stress from early life on change in telomere length and other biomarkers of aging across the life course, and the consequences of change in telomere length for physical and mental health problems. In the first study of children, Shalev and colleagues showed that cumulative violence exposure was associated with accelerated telomere erosion, from age 5 to age 10 years, for children who experienced violence at a young age. This finding provided initial support for a mechanism linking cumulative childhood stress to telomere maintenance, observed already at a young age, with potential impact for life-long health. Shalev is the Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development and an author of more than 50 scientific articles and chapters.

  • Associate Professor
Phone: 814-865-9688
Office: 230 Health and Human Development Building
Brief Bio:

Chad Shenk, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Human Development & Family Studies and Pediatrics at Penn State.  He is also a licensed clinical psychologist with specialty training in pediatrics and trauma exposure and actively sees patients exposed to child maltreatment through Penn State’s Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Shenk’s basic science research examines the longitudinal pathways linking child maltreatment to the onset of adverse health outcomes across the lifespan. This work identifies risk mechanisms of various health conditions in the child maltreatment population using a multiple levels of analysis approach. His clinical trials and translational research therefore centers on the optimization of treatments applied following exposure to child maltreatment by targeting identified risk mechanisms more directly and effectively.

Foundational Centers

These four foundational centers share the core mission of the Network. They conduct research and implement programs that enhance the overall goal of combating child maltreatment through research, education, and engagement.

The CSC supports the advancement of developmental science aimed at improving prevention and intervention services. It also promotes positive educational, health, and mental health outcomes for children, adolescents, and families. The center represents interdisciplinary research among a variety of areas, including psychology, human development and family studies, education, special education, communication disorders, and biobehavioral health. The CSC currently focuses on parenting under conditions of risk, including studies of parents who have abused or neglected their children. Other projects focus on developmental processes related to competence and mental health in vulnerable children and families.
  • Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Phone: 814-865-3879
Office: 251 Moore Building University Park , PA 16802
The PRC promotes the well-being of children and youth, as well as reduces the prevalence of high-risk behaviors and poor outcomes (school failure, aggression, anxiety, and depression) for children, families, and communities. The PRC is home to an interdisciplinary group of faculty members from the Colleges of Health and Human Development, Agricultural Sciences, and Liberal Arts. Center faculty conduct research on risk and protective factors and their relation to well-being and maladaptation, organizes clinical trials of innovative models to promote competence and prevent maladaptive outcomes, and researches evidence-based community programs. Faculty also coordinate prevention research within Health and Human Development, promote prevention science throughout the University, and provide policy-relevant information to federal, state, and local governments.
  • Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development director
Phone: 814-865-7377
Office: 302 Biobehavioral Health Building University Park, PA 16802
The CPC connects a range of efforts at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and coordinates University-wide initiatives to enhance research, educational, and clinical efforts to combat child maltreatment. The foundation for research on child abuse at the Hershey campus is rich. A primary area of emphasis is on the factors that impact child abuse reporting and includes a coordinated venture with the Penn State Law School to develop the first web portal in Pennsylvania to encourage reporters of suspicious child abuse behavior. Investigators are also developing and evaluating interventions aimed at preventing shaken baby syndrome, identifying clinical indicators of child abuse, examining demographic and public health implications of child abuse, and collaborating with the Law School to improve understanding of how the legal system responds to the prosecution of alleged perpetrators.
  • Professor of Pediatrics
Phone: 717-531-8778
Office: 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
The CCL provides a collaborative, multidisciplinary forum for research, teaching, outreach, and service on children’s issues that intersect with the law. The center is dedicated to improving children’s overall well-being through research, teaching, and service. CCL faculty provide training opportunities for students and practitioners for research dissemination and promote advocacy for informed policies and legislation on state and federal level. The center also shares resources, including maintaining a clearinghouse of resources and research. In addition, faculty members in the CCL have a history of partnering with Penn State Hershey Medical Center faculty in areas related to child maltreatment. For example, CCL and Hershey faculty have partnered to develop employee training on child abuse reporting law, to create a website, and to develop residency rotations
  • Professor of Law
Phone: 717-240-5257


Network affiliates support research, practice, education, and outreach in the area of child protection and well-being.

BKC provides evidence-informed professional development to early care, education, and youth development professionals to improve the quality of their care and educational practices. A broad range of research-based information (e.g. child growth and development, environment and curriculum, family engagement and support, child assessment, professionalism, health, safety and nutrition) is translated into online learning modules and other professional development resources and support.
  • Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education
Phone: 814-863-7851
Office: 104 Ferguson Building University Park, PA 16802
Interdisciplinary research and collaboration are the hallmarks of researchers at the center. Interests of the faculty include a broad range of basic and applied topics that expand the knowledge base of nursing science, influence public health policy, and promote lifelong patterns of health among individuals, families, and communities. Areas of special interest include care-giving, chronic disease, technology and informatics, and infants, children and families.
  • Professor of Nursing
Phone: 814-867-1917
Office: 129B Nursing Sciences Building, University Park, PA 16802
COIL is a cross-discipline research and development center focused on building and sustaining a culture of innovation, collaboration, and invention focused on improving teaching and learning. In pursuit of its mission, COIL engages the University’s extensive research enterprise across multiple disciplines in order to improve learning through online innovations at and beyond Penn State.
  • Associate Professor of IST
Phone: 814-867-4025
Office: 330D Info Sci and Tech Building, University Park, PA 16802
The clearinghouse strives to improve the health and well-being of military families by enhancing the effectiveness of professionals working with the families of active military personnel. The unit provides information, education and training, and technical assistance designed to increase the use of evidence-based programs and quality practices.
  • Professor of Family and Youth Resiliency and Policy
Phone: 814-867-4182
A part of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and Hershey Medical Center, this division cares for children with psychiatric illnesses. It maintains a commitment to enhanced collaboration, continuity of care, and growth among existing mental health services in central Pennsylvania. The division offers a full continuum of care from conventional outpatient to acute impatient treatment, as well as many specialty clinics.
  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Phone: 800-243-1455
Office: 905 W. Governor Road, Suite 200 Hershey, PA 70133
ERI is committed to advancing research on children and youth at risk for lower educational attainment (e.g., those with disabilities, racial/ethnic minorities, English language learners, children from low income households). In particular, ERI helps build the educational field's knowledge base by identifying factors contributing to increased educational risk and by evaluating programs and policies that can help decrease this risk.
  • Associate Professor of Education
Phone: 814-863-2287
Office: 211 Cedar Building, University Park, PA 16802
The EPISCenter supports a variety of proven-effective prevention and intervention programs. It conducts original translational research to advance the science and practice of evidence-based prevention. The center is a project of the Prevention Research Center and College of Health and Human Development with support from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
  • Founding Director and Principal Investigator, EPISCenter
Phone: 814-865-2617
Office: 314 Biobehavioral Health Building University Park, PA 16802
The center aims to be synonymous with seminal works in interdisciplinary cyber-security research. The center detects and removes threats of information misuse to the human society, and mitigates risk, reduces uncertainty, and enhances predictability and trust and produces leading scholars in interdisciplinary cyber-security research.
  • Professor of Information Sciences and Technology
Phone: 814-863-0641
Office: 301F Information Sciences and Technology Building University Park, PA 16802
This office assists the University in achieving its commitment to the highest standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity by promoting a culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with legal and regulatory obligations.
  • Director
Phone: 814-865-8353
Office: 333 James M. Elliott Building
The institute promotes ethical awareness inquiry across the University, and in the public and professional sectors, through a three-fold emphasis on teaching, research, and outreach. The institute aims to help people better understand the cultural—and frequently multi-cultural—contexts of ethical problems, disagreements, and responses. In today’s world, ethical literacy is essential to being active, informed citizens, and to living vibrant professional and personal lives.
  • Professor of Philosophy, Science, Technology, Society, and Women’s Studies
Phone: 814-865-1653
Office: 240C Sparks Building University Park , PA 16802
  • Research Associate faculty, Social Science Research Institute
Phone: 814-865-8171
Office: 202 Henderson Building
Brief Bio:

Jenelle Shanley, Ph.D., is a Research Associate faculty in the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State University. Dr. Shanley completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Central Michigan University and her postdoctoral training at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Shanley’s research focuses on improving implementation of evidence-based parenting training programs for families with young children to reduce barriers to access and engagement. She has extensive experience of national and international dissemination efforts to implement two parent training programs, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and SafeCare. Dr. Shanley also has significant experience in developing, revising and adapting parent training curricula both for domestic and international implementations.

  • Research Associate
Phone: 814-865-5205
Office: 432 Health and Human Development Building
Curriculum Vitae: Download C.V.
Brief Bio:

Kate Guastaferro, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor in the Methodology Center and is affiliated with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at The Pennsylvania State University. Kate earned her masters and doctorate in public health focusing on health promotion from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University under the mentorship of Drs. Lutzker and Whitaker. She completed a NIH-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Methodology Center in the Prevention and Methodology Training program under the mentorship of Dr. Linda Collins and Dr. Jennie Noll. Her research focuses on the development, optimization, and evaluation of behavioral and biobehavioral multicomponent interventions with a specific focus on the prevention of child maltreatment and co-occurring parental risk factors including substance use.

Research Interests:

Development, optimization, evaluation, and dissemination of behavioral interventions using innovative and rigorous methodologies to inform prevention efforts addressing co-occurring risk factors for substance use

Selected Pubs:
  • Rivera, P. M., Bray, B. C., Guastaferro, K., Kugler, K. C., & Noll, J. (2018). Linking patterns of substance use with sexual risk-taking among female adolescents with and without histories of maltreatment. Journal Of Adolescent Health.

  • Guastaferro, K., Miller, K., Chatham, J. R. Shanley, McGilly, K., Whitaker, D. W., & Lutzker, J. R. (2017). Systematic braiding of two evidence-based parent-training programs: Results of the pilot phase. Family And Community Health 40(1), 88-97.

  • Guastaferro, K. M., Lutzker, J. R., & Graham, M. L. (2016). Using a Technological Augmentation to Enhance Parent-Infant Interactions With Parents at Risk. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 38(1), 15 - 31.