Beth E. Molnar

Director, Population Health Program: Associate Professor
  • Department of Health Sciences

Résumé/CV:
Office: 323 INV
Phone: (617) 373-8936
Email: b.molnar@neu.edu

Professor Molnar is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences. She is the Director of the Population Health PhD Program and the Associate Director of the Institute for Urban Health Research and Practice (IUHRP) at Northeastern University.  Dr. Molnar’s research is grounded in three public health domains: social epidemiology, prevention science, and psychiatric epidemiology.  Studies focus on two major areas: (1) violent, traumatic experiences (such as child maltreatment, sexual violence, community violence) and the ways that they affect children, youth and those who respond to those who experience violence, i.e. vicarious trauma; and (2) the social context of high-risk behaviors among adolescents (the latter often being sequelae of the first.) One main area of Dr. Molnar’s expertise is multilevel methods, where she utilizes neighborhood-level analyses for insight into both etiology and prevention strategies.  Another main area of expertise is community-based participatory research methodology, from systematic needs assessments to multilevel research designs, to survey/measures development, to evaluation research, to implementation, to analyses and dissemination.  Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Molnar’s work, strongly influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development, has focused on identifying neighborhood-level resources that can be mobilized to decrease levels of violence both in families and in communities. Current projects on which she is the Principal Investigator include the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit project funded by the Office for Victims of Crime; evaluation of three different federally funded interventions to prevent social emotional and behavioral disorders among young children; an NIH-funded evaluation study of Start Strong Boston, a middle school age dating violence preventive intervention delivered in after school programs; and a Tier 1 study of the role of justice in healing from sexual assault. Prior to joining Northeastern, Dr. Molnar was an Associate Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health where she co-founded the Boston Data Project at the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, where ongoing surveillance of youth violence and its risk and protective factors has been done since 2004. These efforts have involved active collaborations with the Boston Public Health Commission, the MA Department of Public Health, Boston Public Schools, national organizations representing first responders and victim services providers, the Boston Police Department, among others. Outside of Northeastern, Dr. Molnar is the Board President of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, a non-profit with a mission to end sexual violence through healing and social justice.

Education/degrees: 
Doctor of Science (ScD) & Masters of Science (SM), Harvard School of Public Health
Bachelor’s of Science (BS), University of California, Los Angeles

Specializations: 
Child abuse and neglect, community-level prevention, social and psychiatric epidemiology

Research Interests: 
Etiology and sequelae of child maltreatment; community-level prevention of child maltreatment; multi-level prevention of youth violence; effects of exposure to complex trauma; prevention of sexual violence

Selected Research Projects:

  • Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) Project – Development and dissemination of an evidence-based online toolkit for organizations of victim assistance professionals, law enforcement officers, and other first responders to become vicarious trauma-informed is being conducted in collaboration with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and other national organizations, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Department of Justice (Principal Investigator).
  • Project LAUNCH Expansion – Building on successes of the SAMHSA-funded Boston Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), new evaluation research is expanding a model of integrating behavioral health services for young children (birth to 8) from high risk families into community-based pediatric medical homes to additional Massachusetts communities in collaboration with the MA Department of Public Health (Principal Investigator for Evaluation).
  • Start Strong Boston Evaluation Study – a promising intervention to prevent dating violence among urban middle school-aged youth attending afterschool programs is being evaluated through an NIH grant in collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission (Principal Investigator).
  • MA Systems of Care Expansion Project – a SAMHSA-funded effort to better link services for children 0-6 with mental health diagnoses in pediatric primary care practices in three communities is being evaluated for its impact on children and caregivers in collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission (Principal Investigator for Evaluation).
  • Evaluation of the Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Impact Project – funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of HRSA, this study is evaluating the use of collective impact projects by two communities and larger efforts to coordinate systems and data sources across the state (Evaluator).

Public Service (Current):

  • President, Board of Directors, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
  • Past member of the Editorial Board for the journal Child Maltreatment, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
  • Member, Defending Childhood Initiative, Boston Public Health Commission
  • Member, Working Group on Child Maltreatment Data Collection (WGCMDC), International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)
  • Reviewer, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Eunice Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), multiple award mechanisms
  • Reviewer, NIH, Psychosocial Development, Risk & Prevention study section (PDRP), Risk Prevention/Health Behavior Integrated Review Group (ad hoc)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Child Abuse & Neglect, International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)

Affiliations:

  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center / President, Board of Directors

Courses:

  • PHTH 2350 – Community and Public Health
  • PHTH 5540 – Health Education and Program Planning
  • PHTH 6400/6410 – PhD Seminar in Population Health Parts I and II
  • PHTH 6902/6903/6910 Masters in Public Health Capstone

Publications:
Peer-reviewed Publications
*Denotes Senior Author

Molnar BE. Juveniles and psychiatric institutionalization: Toward a better system of due process and treatment review in the U.S.  Health and Human Rights 1997; Vol. 2(2): 99-116.

Kral AH, Molnar BE, Booth RE, Watters JK.  Prevalence of sexual risk behavior among runaway and homeless adolescents in San Francisco, Denver and New York City. International Journal of STD & AIDS 1997; Vol. 8: 109-117.

Molnar BE, Shade SB, Kral AH, Booth RE, Watters JK.  Suicidal behavior and sexual/physical abuse among street youth. Child Abuse & Neglect 1998; Vol. 22(3): 213-222.

Merikangas KR, Mehta RL, Molnar BE, Walters EE, Swendsen JD, Auilar-Gaziola S, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Vega WA, Wittchen HU, Kessler RC.  Comorbidity of substance use disorders with mood and anxiety disorders: Results of the International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology (ICPE). Addictive Behaviors 1998; Vol. 23(6): 893-907.

Wechsler H, Molnar BE, Davenport AE, Baer JS.  College alcohol use: A full or empty glass?  The Journal of American College Health 1999; Vol. 47 (6): 247-252.

Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Vega WA, Walters EE, Wittchen HU, Ustun TB. Mental-substance comorbidities in the ICPE surveys.  Psychiatria Fennica 2001; Vol. 32 (suppl 2): 62-79.

Kessler RC, Molnar BE, Feurer ID, Appelbaum M. Patterns and mental health predictors of domestic violence in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey.  International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 2001; Vol. 24 (4-5): 487-508.

Molnar BE, Berkman LF, Buka SL. Psychopathology, child sexual abuse, and other childhood adversities: Relative links to subsequent suicidal behavior in the U.S. Psychological Medicine 2001; Vol. 31: 965-977.

Molnar BE, Buka SL, Kessler RC.  Child sexual abuse and subsequent psychopathology: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey. American Journal of Public Health 2001; Vol. 91(5): 753-760.

Vega WA, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Heeringa SG, Kessler RC, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Walters EE, Warner LA, Wittchen HU. Prevalence and age of onset for drug use in seven international sites: results from the international consortium of psychiatric epidemiology. Drug & Alcohol Dependence 2002; Vol. 68:  285-297.

Molnar BE, Buka SL, Brennan RT, Holton JK, Earls F. A multi-level study of parent-to-child physical aggression: results from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Child Maltreatment 2003; Vol. 8(2): 84-97.

Molnar BE, Gortmaker SL, Bull FC, Buka SL.  Unsafe to play?  Neighborhood disorder and lack of safety predict reduced physical activity among urban children and adolescents.   American Journal of Health Promotion 2004; Vol. 18(5): 378-386.

Molnar BE, Miller MJ, Azrael D, Buka SL. Neighborhood predictors of concealed firearm carrying among children and adolescents: Results from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.  Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2004; Vol. 158: 657-664.

Molnar BE, Roberts A, Browne A, Gardener H, Buka SL.  What girls need: Recommendations for preventing violence among urban girls in the U.S.  Social Science & Medicine 2005; Vol. 60(10): 2191-2204.

Molnar BE, Browne A, Cerda M, Buka SL.  Violent behavior by girls reporting violent victimization: A prospective study.  Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2005; Vol. 159: 731-739.

Brennan RT, Molnar BE, Earls F.   Refining the measurement of exposure to violence (ETV) in urban youth.  Journal of Community Psychology 2007; Vol. 35(5): 603-618.

Borges G, Benjet C, Medina-Mora ME, Orozco R, Molnar BE, Nock MK. Negative life events and suicide-related outcomes among Mexico City adolescents.  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2008; 49(6): 654-666.

Austin SB, Roberts AL, Corliss, H, Molnar BE.* Sexual violence victimization history and sexual risk indicators in a community-based urban cohort of “mostly heterosexual” and heterosexual young women. American Journal of Public Health 2008; Vol. 98(6):  1015-1020.

Almeida J, Cohen AP, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE.* Increased worker caseloads in state child protective service agencies as a potential explanation for the decline in child sexual abuse: A multilevel analysis.  Child Abuse & Neglect 2008; Vol. 32(3): 367-375.

Molnar BE, Cerda M, Roberts AL, Buka SL.  Neighborhood resources: Effects on aggressive and delinquent behaviors among urban youth.  American Journal of Public Health 2008; Vol. 98(6): 1086-1093.

Reed E, Silverman JG, Raj A, Rothman EF, Decker MR, Gottlieb BR, Molnar BE, & Miller E. Social and environmental contexts of adolescent and young adult male perpetrators of intimate partner violence: A qualitative study. American Journal of Men’s Health 2008; Vol. 2(3): 260-271.

Almeida J, Kawachi I, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE.* Ethnicity and nativity status as determinants of perceived social support: Testing the concept of familism.  Social Science & Medicine 2009; Vol. 68(10): 1852-8.

Miller MJ, Barber C, Azrael D, Hemenway D, Molnar BE.* Recent psychopathology, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in households with vs. without firearms: findings from the National Comorbidity Study Replication. Injury Prevention 2009; Vol. 15(3):  183-7.

Almeida J, Johnson RM, Corliss HL, Molnar BE, Azrael D. Emotional distress Among LGBT youth: The influence of perceived discrimination based on sexual orientation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2009; Vol. 38(7): 1001-1014.

LeWinn KZ, Stroud LR, Molnar BE, Ware JH, Koenen KC, Buka SL. Elevated maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with reduced childhood IQ. International Journal of Epidemiology 2009; Vol. 38(6): 1700-1710.

Almeida J, Kawachi I, Molnar BE, Subramanian SV. A multilevel analysis of social ties and social cohesion among Latino immigrants and their neighborhoods: Results from Chicago.  Journal of Urban Health 2009; Vol. 86(5): 745-759.

Reed E, Raj A, Falbo G, Caminha F, Decker MR, Kaliel DC, Missmer SA, Molnar BE, Silverman JG.  The prevalence of violence and relation to depression and illicit drug use among incarcerated women in Recife, Brazil.  International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 2009; Vol. 32(5): 323-328.

Duncan DT, Johnson RM, Molnar BE, Azrael D. Association between neighborhood safety and overweight status among urban adolescents.  BioMed Central Public Health 2009; Vol. 9, Article 289.

Azrael D, Johnson RM, Molnar BE, Vriniotis M, Dunn E, Duncan DT, Hemenway D.  Creating a youth violence data system for Boston, Massachusetts.  Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 2009; Vol. 42(3): 406-421.

Corliss HL, Austin SB, Roberts AL, Molnar BE.* Sexual risk in “mostly heterosexual” young women: Influence of social support and caregiver mental health.  Journal of Women’s Health 2009; Vol. 18(12): 2005-1010.

Jain S, Buka SL, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE.* Neighborhood predictors of dating violence victimization and perpetration in young adulthood: A multi-level study. American Journal of Public Health 2010; Vol. 100(9): 1737-1744.

Almeida J, Subramanian SV, Kawachi I, Molnar BE.* Is blood thicker than water? Social support, depression and the modifying role of ethnicity/nativity status. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2011; Vol. 65: 51-56.

Borges G, Azrael D, Almeida J, Johnson RM, Molnar BE, Hemenway D, Miller MJ. Immigration, suicide ideation and deliberate self-injury in the Boston Youth Survey.  Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior 2011; Vol. 41(2): 193-202.

Green JG, Dunn EC, Johnson RM, Molnar BE.* A multilevel investigation of the association between school context and adolescent non-physical bullying.  Journal of School Violence 2011; Vol. 10(2):  133-149.

Rothman E, Johnson RM, Young R, Weinberg J, Azrael D, Molnar BE.* Neighborhood factors predict physical teen dating violence perpetration:  Results from a representative survey of Boston public high school-attending youth.  Journal of Urban Health 2011; Vol. 88(2): 201-213.

Dunn EC, Gilman SE, Willett JB, Slopen NB, Molnar BE.*  The impact of exposure to interpersonal violence on gender differences in adolescent-onset major depression:  Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).  Depression and Anxiety 2012; Vol. 29(5): 392-399.

Hepburn L, Azrael D, Molnar BE, Miller M.  Bullying and suicidal behaviors among urban high school youth.  Journal of Adolescent Health 2012; Vol. 51: 93-95.

Jain S, Buka SL, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE.* Protective factors for youth exposed to violence: Role of developmental assets for building emotional resilience. Journal of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice (in press).

Almeida J, Subramanian SV, Kawachi I, Molnar BE.* Is blood thicker than water? Social support, depression and the modifying role of ethnicity/nativity status. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2011; Vol. 65(1): 51-56.

Borges G, Azrael D, Almeida J, Johnson RM, Molnar BE, Hemenway D, Miller MJ. Immigration, suicide ideation and deliberate self-injury in the Boston Youth Survey 2006. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior 2011; 41(2): 193-202.

Green JG, Dunn EC, Johnson RM, Molnar BE.* A multilevel investigation of the association between school context and adolescent non-physical bullying. Journal of School Violence 2011; Vol. 10(2): 133-149.

Rothman E, Johnson RM, Young R, Weinberg J, Azrael D, Molnar BE.* Neighborhood factors associated with physical dating violence perpetration: Results of a representative survey conducted in Boston, MA. Journal of Urban Health 2011; Vol. 88(2): 201-213.

Dunn EC, Gilman SE, Willett JB, Slopen NB, Molnar BE.* The impact of exposure to interpersonal violence on gender differences in adolescent-onset major depression: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Depression and Anxiety 2012; Vol. 29(5): 392-399.

Hepburn L, Azrael D, Molnar BE, Miller M. Bullying and suicidal behaviors among urban high school youth. Journal of Adolescent Health 2012; Vol. 51: 93-95.

Jain S, Buka SL, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE.* Protective factors for youth exposed to violence: Role of developmental assets in building emotional resilience. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2012; Vol. 10(1): 107-129.

Duncan DT, Piras G, Dunn EC, Johnson RM, Melly SJ, Molnar BE.* The built environment and depressive symptoms among urban youth: A spatial regression study. Spatial and Spatio- temporal Epidemiology 2013; Vol. 5: 11-25.

Schmidt NM, Tchetgen EJ, Ehntholt A, Almeida J, Nguyen QC, Molnar BE, Azrael D, Osypuk TL. Does neighborhood collective efficacy for families change over time? The Boston Neighborhood Survey. Journal of Community Psychology 2013; Vol. 42(1): 61-79.

Pabayo RA, Molnar BE*, Johnson R, Kawachi I. The relationship between social fragmentation and sleep among adolescents living in Boston, Massachusetts. Journal of Public Health 2014; Vol. 36(4): 587-598.

Pabayo R, Molnar BE,* Kawachi I. Witnessing a violent death and smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use among adolescents. Journal of Urban Health 2014; Vol. 91(2): 335-354.

Pabayo R, Molnar BE* Craddock A, Kawachi I, The relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics and physical inactivity among adolescents living in Boston, Massachusetts. American Journal of Public Health 2014; Vol. 104(11): e142-9.

Pabayo R, Molnar BE,* Kawachi I. The role of neighborhood income inequality in adolescent aggression and violence. Journal of Adolescent Health 2014; Vol. 55(4): 571-579.

Johnson RM, Duncan DT, Gilreath T, Rothman EF, Hemenway D, Molnar BE, Azrael D. Fighting with siblings and with peers among urban high school students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2015; 30(13): 2221-37.

Molnar BE, Goerge RM, Gilsanz P, Subramanian SV, Holton JK, Hill A, Duncan DT, Beatriz ED, Beardslee WR. Neighborhood-level social processes and substantiated cases of child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect 2016; Vol. 51: 41-53.

Molnar BE, Beatriz ED, Beardslee WR. Community-level approaches to child maltreatment prevention. Trauma, Violence & Abuse 2016; Vol. 17(4): 387-97.

Pabayo R, Kawachi I, Grinshteyn E, Gilman S, Molnar BE.* Income inequality within urban neighborhoods and depressive symptoms among adolescents. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2016; Vol. 70(10): 997-1003.

Street NW, McCormick MC, Austin SB, Slopen N, Habre R, Molnar BE.* Sleep duration and risk of physical aggression against peers in urban youth Sleep Health 2016; Vol. 2(2): 129-135

Pabayo R, Hemenway D, Dias J, Molnar BE.* Sweetened beverage consumption is a risk factor for depressive symptoms among adolescents living in Boston, Massachusetts. Public Health Nutrition 2016; 19(17): 3062-3069.

Molnar BE, Sprang G, Killian KD, Gottfried R, Emery V, Bride BE. Advancing science & practice for vicarious traumatization/secondary traumatic stress: A research agenda. Traumatology 2017 (in press).

Books and Monographs

Molnar BE.  Child abuse, neglect and health (2004).  Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior, Editor: Anderson N.  Sage Publications Inc: Thousand Oaks, CA.  Pgs. 167-170.

Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Vega WA, Walters EE, Wittchen HU.  Cross-national comparisons of comorbidities between substance use disorders and mental disorders: Results from the International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology (2003). Handbook for Drug Abuse Prevention, Theory, Science, and Practice.  Bukoski WJ and Sloboda Z (eds.), Plenum Publishing Corporation: New York. Pgs. 447-472.

Molnar BE.  Community-level prevention of child abuse and neglect (2014).  Handbook of Child Maltreatment, Editors: Korbin J, Krugman R.  Springer Scientific. Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London. Pgs. 301-315.