The Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being—seeking innovations to prevent child abuse and neglect were launched in 2010 by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc. The fellowships are designed to identify and develop leaders who conduct practice and policy-relevant research that enhances child development and improves the nation’s ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. Since its beginning, 120 fellows have been selected from a range of academic disciplines and universities from around the country to create a robust peer learning network that includes in-person meetings, information exchanges through webinars and online resources, small group projects, and a strong mentoring component.
First, we selected smart, accomplished scholars completing their dissertation work. Our fellows embody the human and intellectual capital essential to maintain the sustained commitment necessary to measurably influence policy and practice.
Second, we built individual cohorts of like-minded scholars who use research to improve the lives of children through direct service and systemic reforms. They buy into the idea of interdisciplinary practice—they look over the fence and learn from others in different disciplines or who are examining different issues.
Third, we strengthened individual fellow and cohort performance by forming a learning network and fostering strong interdisciplinary thinking and product development. We provide opportunities for fellows to meet both in-person and virtually and encourage them to co-create written products and collectively share their ideas in public forums.
Finally, we launch them in their careers with the tools to make change—the fellows boast a nearly perfect doctoral completion rate and go on to obtain employment in the field. Once in their new setting, these fellows flourish, both individually and by working in partnership with their peers, tackling prevention challenges and fostering innovations across disciplines and geographic boundaries.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc. is shaping the prevention field by investing in the next generation of scholars and leaders. We believe this investment has made a measurable difference in the fellows themselves and in demonstrating how others might approach and influence policy and practice. This is an investment that will keep on giving. We are honored to be involved in this work.
In 2018, the fellowships began moving into a new phase and launched two innovative initiatives to facilitate the transition. The first is the formation of a Leadership Committee, comprised of fellows from each cohort, which will create a sustainability plan for the fellowships’ mission. The second initiative is the creation of the Research to Action Grants Pilot Program. Three teams of Doris Duke fellows and their policy or practice partners are working together to design and implement applied research projects that address a specific policy or practice challenge. More detailed information, including the grant recipients, is available here on our website.
The Leadership Committee was formed in late 2018 to usher the fellowships into a new era where fellows themselves take responsibility for sustaining the fellowships’ mission and expanding the peer learning network. The Leadership Committee is driven by three goals:
To identify strategies to sustain the fellowships’ mission beyond the selection of additional fellows.
To identify new mechanisms to extend the fellowship’s peer learning opportunities to other doctoral students or early career professionals, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in social science research.
To generate innovative ideas fellows can use within their respective institutional homes to promote the use of research in policy and practice at the local, state and federal levels.