Dr. Patricia Chamberlain inducted to the first cohort of Society for Prevention Research SPR Fellows.

June 10, 2013

NOTE: Text reprinted from the Society for Prevention Research 21st Annual Meeting fellows and awards presentation program, Thursday, May 30, 2013, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, CA.

The SPR Fellowship is an honor that SPR bestows upon a small and select group of members who have a particularly distinguished record of contributions in the field of prevention research. A distinguished record reflects a substantial body of work that has had a broad and significant impact on prevention science.

Dr. Patricia Chamberlain is the developer of some of the best known and most effective preventive interventions in our field. These programs were designed to prevent negative outcomes for some of the highest risk children and adolescents in society, including children in foster care, youth in state mental institutions, and youth in the juvenile justice system. Her Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) program has been widely implemented throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and is on numerous best-practice lists. Her KEEP intervention program for foster families is also widely implemented. Dr. Chamberlain and colleagues have adapted the programs to address the needs of specific populations, including delinquent males and females, as well as preschoolers, school age children, and adolescents. All of these interventions have been evaluated and found to be effective via federally-funded randomized clinical trials. Further, independent economic analyses have found MTFC to be a cost-effective treatment for juvenile offenders. Together, these programs have changed the landscape of services and social policy, as well as the lives of many children and families, in the countries in which they have been implemented.

Dr. Chamberlain’s research is a prime example of how preventive intervention trials can also serve as tests of theoretical models. Specifically, her work demonstrates that by targeting hypothesized parenting-based mediators of child antisocial behavior, it is possible to impact life course trajectories of troubled youth. Her work in this area has not only advanced theory, but has also provided a model for other prevention research regarding how to evaluate the underlying “moving parts” of an intervention.

As evidence-based prevention strategies have become more widely available, a challenge for the field has been how to translate programs that were developed via efficacy trials into real-world settings. The field of implementation science has evolved to address these issues, and Dr. Chamberlain has been in a leader in this area. In one very ambitious study, she randomized counties in California and Ohio to receive different strategies for implementation of MTFC (naturalistic vs. facilitated approaches). She has also developed new methods to assess stages of implementation that communities achieve in the course of attempting to implement a new intervention. This work – moving from efficacy trails into community settings – is at the cutting edge of Type II translational research.

As noted above, Dr. Chamberlain’s work has been widely implemented around the world. Her MTFC and KEEP intervention programs are being implemented at over 100 sites, including national level implementations in England. Moreover, the international work has included a strong research focus, including a randomized clinical trial in Sweden and ongoing evaluation efforts in other locations.

Throughout her career, Dr. Chamberlain has mentored numerous prevention scientists, who have themselves become leaders in the field. Dr. Chamberlain is an extremely successful mentor, having facilitated the launch of a number of independent research programs on topics of mutual interest. She is extremely supportive and generous when it comes to research publications. Because her work is continuously evolving, she does not claim specific turf; rather, she is likely to hand off areas that she has been working on to early career colleagues so that she may pursue other ideas and interests. When she does this, however, she remains actively involved in the projects.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Chamberlain has been PI on well over $30M in federal grant and private foundation funding. Moreover, she has authored more than 200 publications in professional journals, book chapters, edited books, and books. Her work consistently appears in top tier journals in the field.