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Dodge Elected to National Academy of Medicine

October 19, 2015

Kenneth A. Dodge, founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy and William McDougall Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine.Photo of Kenneth A. Dodge

Membership in the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service, the academy said in announcing Dodge’s election. New members were chosen “from among candidates nominated for their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

“I’m honored to join other Sanford and Duke faculty members in this body and grateful for their support,” Dodge said. New members were selected by a vote of the academy’s 1,883 active members. Two other Sanford School professors are members of the National Academy of Medicine: Kelly Brownell, dean, and Philip J. Cook, ITT/Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy, and professor of economics and sociology.

“Our newly elected members represent the brightest, most influential, and passionate people in health, science, and medicine in our nation and internationally,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau, former Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke. “They are at the top of their fields and are committed to service. The expertise they bring to the organization will help us respond to today’s most pressing health-related challenges and inform the future of health, science and medicine.”

Dodge said he sees his selection by the academy as further validation of the work he chose to pursue at Duke and the Sanford School. “For me, coming to Sanford in 1998 and starting the Center for Child and Family Policy was an investment in multidisciplinary, real-world, group scholarship,” he explained. “This honor is an indication that other scholars conclude it was a wise decision that has paid off.”

Dodge is trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist and has published more than 500 scientific articles. He is the recipient of a research scientist award from the National Institute of Mental Health and has been honored with several awards from the American Psychological Association, including the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychopathology. In 2014 NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration, honored him for outstanding teaching and research.

Dodge’s scholarship has addressed the development and prevention of chronic violence in children and adolescents. He has conducted both laboratory and longitudinal studies of how chronic aggressive behavior develops across the life span. His work has identified early family experience factors (such as child physical abuse), peer relations factors, and social-cognitive patterns that serve as catalysts for development of aggressive behavior.

With colleagues, Dodge used these findings to create the Fast Track Project, a comprehensive effort to prevent the development of chronic violence in high-risk children. This program is being implemented and evaluated in four regions of the country, with positive preliminary results. With community partners, he also piloted Durham Connects, a successful nurse home-visiting program that provides home visits to parents of newborns, with a goal of reducing emergency care and cases of neglect. Nurses advise new parents on baby care and resources to support positive parenting. The Family Connects NC program has extended the program to four additional counties in North Carolina.

Before joining the faculty of the then-Sanford Institute in September of 1998, Dodge served on the faculty at Indiana University, the University of Colorado and Vanderbilt University.

“Ken Dodge is an outstanding scholar and epitomizes the ability to connect the highest quality research with the real world of public policy,” said Sanford School Dean Kelly Brownell. “This is a top honor bestowed on a top scientist.”