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Emily Douglas Invited to Speak at Launch of New Research Center in Limerick

Posted in: Homepage News and Events, Social Work and Child Advocacy

photo of Emily Douglas and Melinda Gushwa
Emily Douglas and Dr. Melinda Gushwa

On May 27th, 2024, Emily Douglas, professor and chair of the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, celebrated the launch of the Center for Community Research and Innovation at the Technological University of the Shannon in Limerick. The new research center, led by Dr. Melinda Gushwa, head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at TUS, is “to be an epicenter of innovation for the University and the Community to co-create new knowledge in the areas of social research, policy and practice.”

On her decision to invite Dr. Douglas, Dr. Gushwa says, “Emily is an international expert on child maltreatment facilities and policy & research…She brought a new perspective to Ireland (with) both of her talks. I know Emily to be an engaging speaker, and she did not disappoint. Faculty, students and members of the community are still talking about her presentations and panels. She has started new conversations that will serve us well for some time to come.”

photo of professor Emily Douglas presenting with a slide presentation behind her

Douglas presented two discussions entitled From Darkness to Light: Preventing Child Maltreatment Fatalities in the United States and Two Ships Passing in the Night: How Researchers Can Bring Evidence to Policy-Makers. 

From Darkness to Light: Preventing Maltreatment Fatalities in the United States discussed the existing knowledge surrounding child maltreatment fatalities in the U.S. and adds essential contextual information regarding victims, perpetrators, family units, and prevalence rates. Dr. Douglas also explored existing intervention points, their success rates, and where blind spots remain with regards to the child welfare and criminal justice systems, child death review teams, safe haven laws, and preventative measures.

Finding gaps at the “intersection of social science research and policy,” Dr. Douglas discussed how to connect the two in Two Ships Passing in the Night: How Researchers Can Bring Evidence to Policy-Makers. She pursued the idea that scholarly based work can be communicated to legislators to help them in developing policies and programs that are substantiated in research.

“I hope that my presentations brought new information about high-risk families and the different approaches that have been implemented in the U.S. to reduce risk to children,” says Dr. Douglas.

Dr. Douglas found the collaborative experience, as well as the opening of the Center for Community Research and Innovation, exciting and inspiring, saying, “So often, universities work in communities for only as long as there is funding and this center plans to work over the long-term.”


Written by Sarah Ramirez