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Kempe Center - Research

Pediatric Section of Child Abuse and Neglect


Over 700 publications have been contributed by individuals associated with Dr. Kempe or the Center he founded on the etiology, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, management and prevention of physical and sexual child abuse and child neglect.  Today Kempe integrates an innovative and active applied research program that contributes to the improvement of services for children and families affected by child maltreatment in Colorado, nationally, and globally.

Child maltreatment epidemiology – Kempe’s focus is understanding the prevalence and incidence of maltreatment in order to support maltreatment prevention throughout the world.
Child protective systems research – Kempe is actively involved in research and evaluation that helps to improve the effective delivery of services and improve outcomes for children and families. This includes work in the areas of disparities, models for improving access to services such as differential response, and family group decision making.

Decision making in service delivery – Decision making regarding how children get what types of services is critical to improving their outcomes. Kempe’s research contributes to understanding how these decisions are made and how to improve decision making throughout the systems.  We emphasize understanding the relationship between assessment needs and the provision of services.
Prevention and intervention research – Kempe develops and rigorously tests innovative programs to both prevent and ameliorate the adverse consequences of child maltreatment.
Foster care research – Kempe conducts research on risk and protective factors for a range of outcomes among youth in foster care as well as those with a history of foster care.
Dissemination and implementation research – Kempe is actively involved in disseminating evidence-based programs throughout Colorado and nationally, as well as evaluating the success of  implementation efforts with regard to program fidelity, client and family engagement, and treatment outcomes.

Dr. Donald Bross conducts research on how programs that benefit children can be effectively promoted; the effectiveness of services supporting child protection professionals; and on the law and ethics of pediatric advocacy. 

Dr. Antonia Chiesa’s research interest is in cervical spine injury in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and SBS prevention. 

Gail Ryan, MA, has focused her research on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of abusive behaviors in childhood and adolescence. 

Dr. Andrew Sirotnak's research interests focus on the etiology and identification of child physical abuse injuries, child abuse educational interventions for professionals, and peer support for residents in training.

Dr. Heather Taussig's research interests are in the field of child abuse and neglect and foster care, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials of interventions.