Research In Action

Research In Action

Auriel Jasper-Morris
My Career in Violence Prevention
July 6, 2021

Experiencing childhood trauma can significantly impact children's quality of life and different levels of health, including emotional, mental, and physical. While some children may develop anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder, others may not. To prevent these negative outcomes from childhood trauma, I believe that identifying and understanding resiliency factors in childhood can reduce the number of those who grow up to have mental disorders as adults.

During the summer of 2018, I had the great fortune to work under the supervision of Dr. Joel Fein and Dr. Leah Brogan, members of the Center for Violence Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as an Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student. I was tasked with analyzing secondary data that was part of an extensive repository of adolescent behavioral health data for project exploring relations among age, bullying, and suicidality in adolescents. I also had the opportunity to peer-review a journal article with Dr. Brogan.

During my REU experience, Dr. Fein asked me a question that has stayed with me for the past three years "So what you found is significant, but what does it mean to the attending physician at the hospital?”

This question made me look at my position as a researcher in a different way. It wasn’t enough to understand the research implications; the clinical aspects must be considered as well. For research to have an impact, the researcher must look beyond the statistical results and translate the findings in a way that resonates with clinicians, stakeholders, and the community.

Helping Trauma Survivors

For the past two years I have worked as a crisis intervention specialist at a domestic violence shelter, answering crisis calls, going to the hospital for forensic exams, connecting survivors to community resources, and advocating on the client's behalf for shelter. By listening to the stories of these trauma survivors, I realized the importance of having trauma-informed practices in clinical settings, especially since these interactions can determine whether they will reach out for help in the future.

Since my research experience at CIRP, I have been afforded numerous opportunities. I have presented at conferences, been accepted into graduate school for my master's degree, and most recently was accepted into the University of Akron’s PhD program for Counseling Psychology. Dr. Fein and Dr. Brogan were there at each transition for advice, help, and many letters of recommendation. These mentors continue to play a role in who I am today. Working at CIRP as part of the Injury Science REU Program was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to return one day in some capacity.