2  Research Team

Julie Ma, Principal Investigator

Associate Professor of Social Work and Director, Department of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, The University of Michigan-Flint

Professor Ma’s research interests center around the effects of parental physical violence and cultural norms that endorse such violence on the well-being of children, both at local and global levels. Her ongoing research projects primarily focus on examining the link between parental physical abuse and the social-emotional development of young children. She specifically focuses on exploring these associations within the context of gender inequality and violent norms and crimes in low- and middle-income countries.

Andy Grogan-Kaylor, Co-Investigator

Sandra K. Danziger Collegiate Professor, Professor of Social Work, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Professor Grogan-Kaylor’s research focuses on basic and intervention research on children and families with the aim of reducing violence against children and improving family and child wellbeing. Grogan-Kaylor’s current research projects examine parenting behaviors such as physical punishment and parental expressions of emotional warmth and support, and their effects on children’s aggression, antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression.

Shawna Lee, Co-Investigator

Professor of Social Work, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Professor Lee is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She is the director of the Parenting in Context Research Lab and the director of the Program Evaluation Group at the School. Lee has published on topics related to child maltreatment, fathers’ parenting, father-child relationships, parenting stress and family functioning, and parental discipline. Her recent research focuses on parenting and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dana Charles McCoy, Consultant

Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education Advancement, the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Professor McCoy’s work focuses on understanding the ways that poverty and violence in children’s home, school, and neighborhood environments affect the development of their cognitive and socioemotional skills in early childhood. She is also interested in the development, refinement, and evaluation of early intervention programs designed to promote positive development and resilience in young children, particularly in terms of their self-regulation and executive function.

Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Consultant

Professor of Sociology & Law, University of Minnesota

Professor Boyle studies women’s and children’s right to health, with a focus on the negative impacts of violence. She is committed to making comparative health microdata more accessible to researchers around the world; to that end, she is Principal Investigator of IPUMS Global Health, a set of online tools with free harmonized health and well-being data from the DHS Program, UNICEF, and Performance Monitoring for Action. Professor Boyle’s recent research focuses on orphans’ experience with violent discipline in sub-Saharan Africa and the relationship between women and children’s health and armed conflict.

Kaitlin P. Ward, Consultant

Research Affiliate, University of Michigan; People Analytics Researcher, Google

Kaitlin’s research focuses on unveiling the ecological predictors of child development among impoverished populations in the US and families living in low- and middle-income countries abroad. She focuses on how broader contextual factors such as neighborhood/community, country, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and gender inequality impact the functioning of the family unit, and in turn, how family processes impact child outcomes. She also serves as the primary methodologist on international program evaluations and randomized controlled trials where she tests the efficacy of culturally informed interventions on child and family health outcomes.

Meghana Kodali, Research Assistant

Meghana Kodali’s research focus is on exploring gender inequality affecting women and children that leads to family violence. As a research assistant, she examined the effectiveness of telehealth services for adolescents. She also investigated trends in Medicare reimbursements for patients with cervical cancer within the first year of diagnosis and presented a poster on this work at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Currently, she is interested in further examining potential moderators driving gender inequality and parental abuse against children.

Kaylee Fisher, Research Assistant

Kaylee Fisher is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology and minoring in Human Resources Management at UM-Flint. Her research interests encompass brain functions, human behavior, cognition, child development, and related topics such as how social norms and the environment influence these processes. She is a member of the UM-Flint Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is currently applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology.

Olivia Chang, Research Assistant

Olivia D. Chang is a PhD student in the Joint Social Work and Developmental Psychology doctoral program at the University of Michigan. She earned her Master of Social Work in Interpersonal Practice from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Her research interests include positive parenting, child maltreatment, adverse childhood experiences, community-based interventions, and resiliency. Drawing on psychological and social work frameworks, her work takes an interdisciplinary approach to transforming child welfare.

Ellarie Prince, Research Assistant

Ellarie Prince is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan-Flint majoring in psychology and pursuing a certificate in early childhood trauma and education. She is a research assistant through the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). Her research interests include the associations of childhood maltreatment and development; specifically physical abuse and its relation to language, learning, and socio-emotional development. She hopes to expand her knowledge in research and use these skills when furthering her education in psychology.