Kenneth A. Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, has received the 2017 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders.
Dodge is the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. He is the seventh recipient of the annual award, which honors outstanding contributions to child mental health research.
Child Mind Institute Founding President Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz said Dodge was recognized for “an enduring career of incredible contributions to science and society and the mentoring of the next generation of scientists."
Dodge received the award Monday at the Child Advocacy Award Dinner in New York City. The event benefits the Child Mind Institute.
“I feel very humbled to be given this award,” said Dodge, a clinical and developmental psychologist who has published more than 500 scientific articles. “Previous award winners have included a Nobel Laureate and two directors of NIH institutes, and I am honored to be among them.”
Dodge’s scholarship has addressed the development and prevention of chronic violence in children and adolescents. He has conducted laboratory and longitudinal studies of how chronic aggressive behavior develops across the life span and has identified catalysts for how it develops.
Dodge, along with colleagues, used these findings to create the Fast Track Project, a comprehensive effort to prevent the development of chronic violence in high-risk children. The program is being used and evaluated in four areas of the country with positive results.
With community partners, he also piloted Durham Connects, a successful nurse home-visiting program for parents of newborns in Durham, N.C., to reduce emergency care needs and cases of neglect. The program is expanding nationwide under the name Family Connects.
As director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, Dodge leads efforts to bridge research on children's development with public policy in areas such as early childhood, economic distress, child abuse, delinquency and school dropout and substance use.
"Dr. Dodge’s research on youth violence and child abuse has had a tremendous impact in the scientific community,” Koplewicz said. “But his efforts to put that knowledge to work, including founding the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke to bridge the gap between child development research and public policy, are equally transformative.”
Dodge was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2015 and has been the recipient of a Research Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. He has been honored by numerous groups including the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Research on Aggression, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration and the Society for Research on Adolescence.
Prior to joining Duke in 1998, Dodge served on the faculty at Indiana University, the University of Colorado and Vanderbilt University.
As the Child Mind Institute’s Distinguished Scientist, Dodge will be the keynote speaker next year in a scientific symposium called On the Shoulders of Giants with two scientists of his choosing that he has mentored. The symposium highlights groundbreaking contributions to brain and behavior research while also celebrating the spirit of collaboration and mentorship.
Additionally, Dodge will receive a $25,000 honorarium to use for his research after the symposium.