The Foundation Trust is excited to announce the launch of the Complex Trauma Research Scholarship, which was established to provide mentorship and financial support to a graduate student doing empirical research in Psychology or related fields.

This new scholarship falls under the purview of the Foundation Trust’s Overcoming Trauma and Adversity track. Within this track, the Foundation Trust champions innovative and evidence-based approaches to intervention, empowerment and strengths-based services, training, and educational resource development for individuals and families.

Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, Executive Director of the Foundation Trust and internationally-recognized expert in the area of traumatic stress, comments, “the Foundation Trust is a private operating foundation that considers the overcoming of life adversity for all those impacted by complex trauma to be its greatest mission. With this scholarship, we are excited to support the next generation of researchers and advance the empirical evidence-base on complex trauma.”

Dr. Wendy D’Andrea, Associate Professor of Psychology at the New School in New York City has been closely involved in the first year of this graduate research scholarship from the Foundation Trust. Highlighting the value of this scholarship, she notes that “there are very few resources dedicated to complex trauma research aimed at the early career level. Directing resources to trainees allows them to develop their content expertise in complex trauma at the same time as they are learning foundational skills about how to become researchers, which helps them to create sustainable expertise. Working within the complex trauma field involves navigating difficult realities, related not just to who we serve but to the political tensions within this field. Doing so with both the recognition and resources that come with a fellowship is an important way to nourish our emerging scholars.”

About the Recipient

Noga Miron, a first-year doctoral student at the New School in New York City, has been selected as the first recipient of the new Foundation Trust Complex Trauma Research Scholarship.

Originally from Israel, Miron has a BA in social work and worked at a child development center where she became interested in the effects of trauma on the family system. Miron says she chose to come to the New School for her MA and Ph.D. to “take me out of my comfort zone and do something bigger. In social work, it always felt like putting out fires. I became interested in psychology to get a better understanding and to get into deeper aspects of what’s going on.”

Miron is currently working with Dr. Wendy D’Andrea in the Trauma and Affective Psychophysiology Lab at the New School and she is excited to have received the Foundation Trust Complex Trauma Research Scholarship under her guidance. “I feel lucky to be getting these opportunities and meeting people central to this field. I’m enjoying every moment of it,” comments Miron.

“I’m delighted that Noga was chosen for this work,” says Dr. D’Andrea. “She is the embodiment of what this field needs: she works assiduously and constantly develops her own technical expertise, and pairs her skills as a researcher with a keen, sensitive eye for subtle clinical phenomena. The work she produces avoids reductionistic explanations of trauma and its outcomes and serves as strong scientific advocacy in the field.”

Going forward, Miron wants to remain engaged in academia, noting that “I see myself primarily as a clinician, but I am also interested in teaching. It is important to talk about what we’re doing, and stay informed, so I hope to teach clinical courses and remain involved in research.”

To recharge in her spare time, Noga enjoys cooking and being outdoors, as well as “lots of traveling, with a mix of culture, music, and hiking. Trekking in the Dolomites in Europe was a highlight.”

About the Project

The first project funded by the Foundation Trust Complex Trauma Research Scholarship is a meta-analysis of studies on the long-term effects of different types of childhood maltreatment and neglect, with particular focus on the effects of childhood emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse.

“This project is so meaningful because it aims to prove that emotional processes in families do matter,” Miron explains. “The meta-analysis aims to show that childhood emotional abuse compares to other forms of childhood trauma in its outcomes. This is important since there has been a strong focus in the field of trauma on the aftermath of childhood physical and sexual abuse, but the outcomes of emotional abuse have not been similarly emphasized. We believe that there is enough data to suggest that the outcomes of childhood emotional abuse are as severe as other forms of childhood trauma and should not be overlooked.”

Dr. D’Andrea further clarifies the importance of this particular study, noting that “Noga’s work is on examining the relative impacts of types of maltreatment, with the goal of sorting out whether emotional abuse, when occurring in the absence of physical and sexual abuse, is as associated with mental illness as these more traditional “criterion A” traumatic events. This work accomplishes the goal of refining “what counts” as trauma, and draws our attention to the fact that our relationships with the people who are supposed to love us have lifelong influence. While this is a fact that many of us intuit and that has been reinforced by research from the attachment field, the connection between early emotional maltreatment and adulthood mental illness (including but beyond PTSD) often goes unnamed in both research and therapeutic settings.”

Following completion of the statistical analysis, the goal is to submit the findings for publication in Spring 2020. Results will also be made available on www.ComplexTrauma.org, a repository of resources sponsored and maintained by the Foundation Trust.

Future Scholarships

The Foundation Trust’s goal is to make this scholarship available annually to a graduate student working in partnership with a faculty advisor. The intent of the scholarship is to advance the field with data-driven research on complex trauma and its diagnosis, assessment, intervention, and treatment. The scholarship is not intended to fund full research studies, but can be applied to analysis of data that has already been collected and manuscript preparation. Research may be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method and should be clinically relevant to advance the understanding and treatment of complex trauma.

Further details on the scholarship will be made available in Spring 2020 on www.FoundationTrust.org and www.ComplexTrauma.org.

 

For more information, contact Lauren Liecau at manager@foundationtrust.org.