The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Advisory Board

The Rudd Adoption Research Program Advisory Board includes eleven internationally-recognized scholars with great depth in contributions to adoption research and its application to practice and policy. Members of the advisory board hail from the US, UK, Spain, and the Netherlands, and have broad and deep expertise spanning diverse aspects of adoption. The group is a critically important sounding board, providing input about current programs, programs being considered for the future, how we communicate with constituents, the annual conference, and other programmatic work.

Meet the Rudd Adoption Research Program Advisory Board

Dana Johnson, Ph.D.

Dana Johnson is a professor of pediatrics and member of the Divisions of Neonatology and Global Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he co-founded the International Adoption Program in 1986. His research interests include the effects of early institutionalization on growth and development and the outcomes of internationally adopted children.

Johnson is an invited speaker worldwide, serves on the editorial boards of Adoption Quarterly and Adoptive Families Magazine and has authored over 200 scholarly works. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Joint Council for International Children’s Services, Friend of Children Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Harry Holt Award from Holt International. He serves on the boards of directors of Joint Council on International Children’s Services, Half The Sky Foundation and SPOON Foundation. 

Femmie Juffer, Ph.D.

Femmie Juffer is Professor of Adoption Studies at the Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands. She was the first person to hold the Chair on Adoption Studies, which was established at Leiden University, Centre for Child and Family Studies, in 2000 by Wereldkinderen (Worldchildren), The Hague.

Her research interests include international adoption and foster care, parental sensitivity and attachment in adoptive families, attachment-based interventions, adopted children’s development, and child rearing in institutions. Dr. Juffer received the Casimir Award in 2005 for excellence in teaching in the Faculty of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Leiden University and the Piet Vroon Award in 2004 for research into practice.  She is a member of the Editorial Board of Adoption Quarterly, Adoptietijdschrift, and Mobiel, tijdschrift voor Pleegzorg. She co-edited Promoting Positive Parenting: An Attachment-Based Intervention (Erlbaum, 2008) and co-directs the Adoption Meta-Analysis Project at Leiden University. She hosted the Third International Conference on Adoption Research in 2010.

Amanda L. Baden, Ph.D.

Amanda Baden is Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership at Montclair State University, New Jersey. Her research and clinical practice are focused on adoption triad members, transracial/international adoption issues, racial and cultural identity, and multicultural counseling competence.

Dr. Baden co-created the Cultural-Racial Identity Model for transracial and international adoptees. She co-edited the Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families (Sage, 2007) and serves on the editorial board for Adoption Quarterly. She also co-chairs the Biennial Adoption Initiative Conferences held at St. John’s University, New York City. Dr. Baden was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and is a Senior Research Fellow of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Ruth McRoy, Ph.D.

In 2009, Ruth G. McRoy became the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy was a member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work faculty for 25 years and held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship. A practitioner, academician, researcher, trainer, and lecturer in the field for over 30 years, her work has focused on such topics as open adoptions, birthmothers, kinship care, adoptive family recruitment, minority recruitment, racial identity development, transracial adoptions, older child adoptions, family preservation, adolescent pregnancy, and post adoption services. Since the 1980s she and Harold Grotevant have conducted longitudinal research on outcomes of openness in adoption for birthmothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children.

She and her team at the University of Texas at Austin currently serve as evaluators for AdoptUSKids, a service of the U.S. Children’s Bureau. McRoy has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters and ten books, including: Transracial and Inracial Adoptees: The Adolescent Years (with L. Zurcher), Special Needs Adoptions: Practice Issues, and Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections (with H. Grotevant). In 2010 McRoy was selected as a fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and also was named the recipient of the St. John’s 2010 Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award. She also received the 2013 U.S. Children’s Bureau’s Adoption Excellence Award and the 2014 North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) Child Advocate of the Year Award. McRoy recently completed her term as a member of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Board, and as board member and president of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) Board. 

Cynthia Monahon, Psy.D.

Cynthia Monahon served as the founding director of the Cutchins Children’s Clinic in Northampton, Massachusetts, for 28 years. The mission of the clinic has been to match the best trained and most experienced clinicians with the children and families most in need. Dr. Monahon is the author of Children and Trauma; a Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Heal (Jossey Bass, 1993). Dr. Monahon has lectured frequently on childhood trauma, models of intervention with parents of traumatized children, and child psychotherapy. She has taught at the Smith College School for Social Work and at the Antioch New England doctoral psychology program.

Dr. Monahon has a long history of building multi-disciplinary teams of law enforcement, community family bar advocates, and probate court to address the needs of abuse victims and children of divorce in western Massachusetts and is currently the child mental health consultant for the Northwest District Attorney’s office. Dr. Monahon has a full-time private practice in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where she consults frequently with children and families whose lives have been touched by domestic and international adoption. 

Elsbeth Neil, Ph.D.

Elsbeth Neil is a senior lecturer in social work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Dr. Neil has been undertaking research in the field of adoption for almost 20 years. She has conducted a longitudinal study, following young children placed for adoption and studying the impact of birth family contact on these children and their birth and adoptive parents. She recently completed a follow-up of this sample, the adopted young people now being in late adolescence/early adulthood and a summary of the key findings has been published by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

She has carried out two studies funded as part of the UK government’s Adoption Research Initiative: the ‘Helping Birth Families’ study has examined support services for birth relatives of children adopted from care, and the ‘Supporting Direct Contact’ study has looked at how adoption agencies support face-to-face contact arrangements between adoptive children and their birth relatives. Both of these studies have also been published by BAAF. She has also published a number of journal articles about her research and has edited two collections of adoption research (E. Neil and D. Howe, 2004, Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care published by BAAF; and G. Wrobel and E. Neil, International Advances in Adoption Research for Practice, published by Wiley in 2009). In 2006 she organised and chaired the Second International Conference on Adoption Research, held at UEA. 

Jesús Palacios, Ph.D.

Jesús Palacios is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Seville, Spain. He has conducted research on both domestic and international adoption in Spain, especially focusing on issues of parent-child relationships and parenting stress. He has published numerous books and articles on foster care and adoption, including  Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice, co-edited with David Brodzinsky (Praeger, 2005). He has also co-authored a preadoption training program for prospective adopters as well as a book for adoptive parents (Adelante con la adopción [Ahead with Adoption]). He consults regularly with governmental agencies about how to improve systems of foster care and adoption on behalf of children, and he has played a leadership role in connecting adoption researchers around the world. He is hosting the Fourth International Conference on Adoption Research in Spain in 2013.

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Ph.D.

Maureen Perry-Jenkins is professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on Families at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on the ways in which socio-cultural factors such as race, gender, and social class, shape the mental health and family relationships of employed parents and their children.

Her current research involves a ten-year, longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health that examines the transition to parenthood and transition back to paid employment for working-class, low wage couples and for African American, Latino and European American single mothers. The project examines how risk and resilience factors across these multiple life transitions affect new parents’ well-being, relationship quality, and the socioemotional well-being of their children.

She is the author of numerous articles and chapters published in Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Psychology, and Family Relations. She was a recipient of the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Outreach Research Award for her efforts to apply her research to policy as well as the Outstanding Teacher Award on the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Professor Perry-Jenkins was recently designated a Fellow of the National Council on Family Relations and completed a term on its board of directors.

Caren Rotello, Ph.D.

Caren Rotello is professor and chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a current associate editor for Cognitive Psychology and Psychological Science and was previously associate editor of Psychonomic Bulletin and Review and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. Professor Rotello also served a four-year term on the cognition and perception grant-review panel for the National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on applications of signal detection theory to recognition memory and reasoning processes, including eyewitness identification, and has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Department of the Interior. She became an elected fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 2017.