Talk on sexual violence prevention at New Kensington campus

Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s Hospital

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The latest research on sexual and dating violence prevention is the topic of a lecture by Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, at noon, Thursday, Feb. 16, at Penn State New Kensington.

Miller’s lecture, “Rethinking Dating and Sexual Violence Prevention: Exploring the Roles of Sexuality, Trauma, and Gender,” expounds on the latest research on sexual- and dating-violence prevention efforts and examines promising strategies, challenges and lessons learned, with implementation of prevention interventions in clinical and community-based settings. The event is free to the public. The talk will be viewed via polycom by students at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

“Dr. Miller is a leading expert in sexual and dating violence, issues that unfortunately are all too common in the United States, and impact all age groups, including adolescents and college age students,” said Penelope Morrison, assistant professor of biobehavioral health. “Her groundbreaking research has made enormous advances in understanding how to stop perpetrator behaviors, and promote healthy and safe interpersonal relationships.”

A professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Miller is trained in medical anthropology, as well as internal medicine and pediatrics. Her research has included examination of sex trafficking among adolescents in Asia, teen dating abuse, and reproductive health. She focuses on underserved youth populations, including pregnant and parenting teens and foster, homeless, and gang-affiliated youth.

Miller conducts research on brief clinical interventions to reduce partner and sexual violence. The work is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Justice.

In addition, Miller developed a sexual-violence prevention program, “Coaching Boys into Men,” that involves training coaches to talk to their young male athletes about stopping violence against women. Her research is international in scope. Miller is involved in projects to reduce gender-based violence and improve adolescent and young adult women’s health in India and Japan.

“It is an honor to have Dr. Miller join us on campus,” Morrison said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to educate our campus community on sexual and dating violence, and how we can address these issues as a campus and a community.”

The talk is a part of the “Human Sexuality as a Health Concern” course taught by Morrison. The first-year Biobehavioral Health (BBH) program is an innovative and interdisciplinary program designed to explore health from all angles. Students majoring in BBH focus on how biological, behavioral, psychological, sociocultural and environmental variables interact to influence health across time scales and levels of analysis. New Kensington and Penn State Greater Allegheny have joint authorization to deliver the bachelor of science program.

Morrison has headed the program since its inception in fall 2016. She made her way to the New Kensington campus via Magee-Womens Research Institute, where she was a co-investigator and senior research associate. She also worked as an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work. She teaches courses on gender and biobehavioral health, diversity and health, intro to biobehavioral health, foundations and principles of health promotion, research strategies for studying biobehavioral health, and human sexuality as a health concern.

The Pittsburgh resident holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and a master’s degree in behavioral and community health sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. With a specific interest in male perpetration of intimate partner violence, Morrison’s research focuses broadly on health issues for underserved women and children. She also worked extensively with opioid abuse during pregnancy, and adolescent sexual risk-taking and substance use.

For more information on the talk, call 724-334-6032.

For more on the BBH program, visit Biobehavioral Health


Bill Woodard

Alumni and Public Relations Specialist

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