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Network Team

  • Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-867-4751
Office: 310 Biobehavioral Health Building
  • Assistant Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-867-4061
Office: 015 Henderson Building

Cheri McConnell

  • Education Coordinator, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Phone: 814-865-2193
Office: 015 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

Network Faculty

  • Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-867-4751
Office: 310 Biobehavioral Health Building
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D., is a professor of Human Development and Family Studies and the director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network (Network) at Penn State University. Dr. Noll received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and Statistical Methodology from the University of Southern California in 1995. 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. Her leadership at the Network centers on mentoring the cofounded faculty within 5 colleges, collaborating with local and state leaders, and advancing knowledge, treatment, education and policy aimed at combating child maltreatment and abuse.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Phone: 717-531-4100
Office: 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
Brian Allen, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who currently serves as the Director of Mental Health Services at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital’s Center for the Protection of Children. He is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Penn State College of Medicine. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Allen conducts research on the developmental impact of child maltreatment, ways to improve the clinician-researcher dialogue, the implementation of evidence-based treatments, and children with sexual behavior problems. To date, he has published over 20 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and is co-editor of the book Treating Traumatized Children: A Casebook of Evidence-based Therapies. Dr. Allen has worked in the child maltreatment field for over 10 years, is a regular presenter at national and international conferences, and currently serves on the editorial boards of three scientific journals.

Sarah Font, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
Phone: 814-863-2259
Office: 505 Oswald Tower
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
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.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Child Abuse Pediatrician
Phone: 717-531-5158
Office: 500 University Drive Hershey, PA 17033
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 Child Protection 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 a current member of the Subboard in Child Abuse Pediatrics of the ABP. Dr. Hymel founded and now directs the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network. His primary research interest is abusive head trauma.

Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-1991
Office: 448 Moore Building
Erika S. Lunkenheimer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Lunkenheimer is currently working on a K01 Research Scientist Career Development Award, awarded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). 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 interaction patterns contribute to developmental psychopathology in children and (2) uncovering malleable relational and biological processes that could inform the tailoring of preventive intervention programs for families at risk for child maltreatment. Grounded in dynamic systems theory and using dynamic time series analytic approaches, Dr. Lunkenheimer studies the moment-to-moment coordination of physiology, goal-oriented behaviors, and emotions between parents and young children and its role in the development of child maltreatment, as well as its association with maltreatment risk factors (e.g., harsh parenting, parent mental health symptoms and stress, children’s behavior problems) and protective factors (e.g., positive parenting, children’s self-regulation, resilience).
  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of College of Nursing
Phone: 814-863-4141
Office: 201 Nursing Sciences Building
Sheridan Miyamoto is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and is a faculty member of 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 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), and the use of telehealth technology to improve sexual assault forensic care in rural communities. 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.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Education
Phone: 814-865-0008
Office: 228 CEDAR Building University Park, PA 16802
Carlo 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 Penn State University. Dr. Panlilio received his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland, College Park with a specialization in Developmental Science and a Certificate in Measurement and Statistics. Using a longitudinal latent variable framework, his research focuses on understanding the developmental trajectories of school readiness domains (i.e., emotion regulation and language) across the preschool years for maltreated children. Additionally, he is interested in understanding how child welfare-specific context factors of placement stability and caregiver quality at different time points influence development. Finally, he is interested in understanding how these different developmental trajectories predict later academic achievement.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-863-5767
Office: 107 Biobehavioral Health Building, University Park, PA 16802
Hannah Schreier, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. Following the completion of her PhD with a focus on health psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Dr. Schreier spent three years at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics. Her research addresses the long-term physiological consequences of exposure to adverse experiences, such as growing up in low SES environments or experiencing child maltreatment. She is focused on understanding the influences of such adverse experiences on markers of chronic inflammation and among adolescents. She is also interested in exploring the use of social interventions to actively improve physiological outcomes among adolescents.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-865-5764
Office: 219 Biobehavioral Health Building University Park, PA 16802
Idan Shalev, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. 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. Specifically, 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. Dr. Shalev’s current work explores temporal differences in gene expression and epigenetic changes in response to environmental stressors in the lab, as moderated by early life stress.
  • Network Faculty member
  • Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-865-9688
Office: 314 Biobehavioral Health Building University Park, PA 16802
Chad Shenk, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Department at Penn State University and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Shenk’s research examines the longitudinal pathways from child maltreatment to the onset of adverse health outcomes in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. This work uses both experimental and observational research to identify the mechanisms of various outcomes present in the child maltreatment population across multiple levels of analysis (e.g. psychological, biological, familial). A central translational goal of this research then is to develop novel prevention programs and optimize existing clinical interventions by targeting putative risk and protective mechanisms more directly and effectively. Current work is identifying the epigenetic contributions of child maltreatment on subsequent psychiatric disorders and developing a selective prevention program for children recently experiencing maltreatment.

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