Preventing Child Abuse: The Next 10 Years
by Dr. Melissa Merrick
Melissa T. Merrick, PhD, is the President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect with a robust network of state chapters. Dr. Merrick has over 18 years of clinical, research, and leadership experience related to the etiology, course, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prior to joining PCA America, Dr. Merrick was a Senior Epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and served on a detail in the Office of the Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau in ACF. In partnership with the HHS Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), she served as the Lead Scientist for the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study at CDC for 8 years. Dr. Merrick effectively leverages her clinical and research experiences to effectively communicate and disseminate the critical public health importance of preventing early adversity to key stakeholders, congressional audiences and policymakers, and community members and professionals with diverse priorities, backgrounds, and knowledge.
Dr. Merrick received her BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and her masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, where she served as a program coordinator for the San Diego site of the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) consortium. Dr. Merrick was an NIH-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Miami Child Protection Team (CPT) involved in a multi-site program of research that examined child maltreatment risk and protective factors in families evaluated by CPTs across the state of Florida prior to spending 9 years at the CDC.