Sheree Toth, professor of psychology, associate professor of psychiatry, and the executive director of the University of Rochester's Mt. Hope Family Center, was honored with the Outstanding Research Career Achievement Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.
"For more than 25 years, Professor Toth has made highly significant contributions to research on the consequences of child maltreatment," said Ronald Hughes, chair of the awards committee, at the presentation of the honor on June 27 during the organization's colloquium in Las Vegas.
Citing Toth's important contributions to both clinical methods as well as basic research in child development, Hughes pointed out that 20 of Toth's papers are already considered "citation classics by virtue of being cited over 100 times."
Toth, who joined the University faculty in 1985, has helped Mt. Hope Family Center achieve national recognition in the treatment of childhood trauma, maternal depression, and attachment disorders.
"From its inception, Mt. Hope Family Center's program of research was dedicated to being translated into interventions designed to improve the well-being of vulnerable children," said Toth.
Toth's commitment to community has led to the center's participation in evidence-based interventions with local programs including Healthy Futures, Building Healthy Children, the Incredible Years Collaborative, and BASIC prevention and intervention services. Under her leadership, Mt. Hope Family Center was selected to join the National Child Traumatic Stress Network in 2009, which has allowed the center to share treatment methods with training facilities and service providers nationwide.
Toth's dedication to reducing the devastating impact of childhood trauma has been a career-long endeavor. She has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health since 1991 to conduct investigations with children who have been mistreated or whose mothers suffer from depression. Most recently, she was awarded $1.6 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide treatment for children from civilian and military families exposed to trauma, including domestic violence. The author of 67 peer-reviewed papers and dozens of articles, Toth has advanced the understanding of the psychological and physiological harm that negative caregiving has on child development.
In addition to research, Toth teaches graduate courses in clinical psychology and evidence-based child psychotherapy and mentors doctoral students. She has served as an editor for several journals, including Development and Psychopathology, and was a standing member of the NIH Psychosocial Development, Risk, and Prevention Integrated Review Group. She earned a master's degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University.
In her award acceptance speech, Toth emphasized the importance of continuing to develop and evaluate interventions for maltreated children. She also acknowledged long-time colleagues Dante Cicchetti, Jody Todd Manly, and Fred Rogosch and thanked the research and clinical staff of Mt. Hope Family Center.
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children is the leading national organization supporting professionals who serve children and families affected by child maltreatment and violence. A multi-disciplinary group, the society supports training and educational activities, policy leadership, and consultation that emphasize theoretically sound, evidence-based principles.