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Susan B. Anthony Center director selected for national fellowship

June 12, 2020
Catherine CerulliCatherine Cerulli, director of Susan B. Anthony Center, will spend a year in Washington, DC, as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow. (J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester photo)
Psychiatry professor Catherine (Kate) Cerulli will work with national health and health policy leaders as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow.

Catherine (Kate) Cerulli, director of the Susan B. Anthony Center, the Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization (LIVV), and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester, has been named a Health Policy Fellow by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Academy of Medicine.

Cerulli, along with five others, will spend a year in Washington, DC, to work with national health and health policy leaders, participate in seminars and leadership development, and engage with members of Congress.

Chosen annually through a national competition, the fellows are highly accomplished, mid-career professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as medicine, research, and academia, who want to understand and help to influence the policymaking process in the nation’s capital.

After participating in an extensive health policy orientation, fellows participate in placements within the legislative or executive branch of the federal government. After her fellowship, Cerulli will return to Rochester to work on a tentative project that analyzes how courts make determinations about child abuse and neglect relative to custody and visitation.

“I’ll examine the science, the risk factors, and put together an algorithm of sorts for judges and lawyers to use,” says Cerulli, who for more than three decades has dedicated her efforts to addressing the intersection of the court system, mental health, and violence.

In addition to her role at the center, she has worked alongside LIVV colleagues in partnership with community agencies such as the Willow Domestic Violence Center, the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, and Monroe County Family Court to create, implement, and evaluate innovative programs to address and prevent violence. In addition, she works internationally to address violence prevention by mentoring international scholars.

Jamie Saunders, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester and former head of the Willow Domestic Violence Center, collaborated on several projects with Cerulli. “Dr. Cerulli is an internationally sought after leader in her field, yet she continues to push herself to learn even more in order to share that learning with practitioners right here.”

“I turn to her counsel of how to apply the best we know in science and how to best translate this learning into practical and meaningful application in day-to-day work in human services, abuse and victimization support services and the justice system. I am excited for our entire community for what will result from this unique and prestigious opportunity for concentrated learning. I know she will return to share this opportunity with others to inform and strengthen our work, which in turn improves the lives of others.”

Through her efforts, Cerulli has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control, and other federal institutes and foundations to conduct studies that examine issues related to violence, including mental health and victim safety.

“I’m excited to be at this stage in my career and to have the opportunity to learn a skill set that will help move my field forward in violence prevention. It will help us change the paradigm,” says Cerulli, who also serves as director of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) of the TRANSFORM project. As part of the CEC, she works with a team to disseminate the research findings through webinars, podcasts, fact sheets, social media, and mobile applications. “The benefit of this fellowship is that I’ll be able to, upon returning to Rochester, take these new skills that I’ve learned in policy and health policy, and apply the skillset to TRANSFORM project.”

Cerulli earned her JD from the University at Buffalo law school and her PhD in criminal justice at the State University of New York at Albany. She was formerly an assistant district attorney in the early 1990s in Monroe County, New York, where she created a special misdemeanor domestic violence unit.

She is a founding board member for the Crisis Nursery of Greater Rochester Inc. and currently serves on the board of directors for the Center for Youth and Saint Mary’s College Alumni Board.

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Category: Society & Culture