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Katherine E. Morrison, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Elizabeth Morrison was a postdoctoral research associate and public health researcher at the Wellesley Centers for Women from 2002-2007. She dedicates her career to exploring the impact of violence against women in communities of color and finding methods for preventing violence against women.

Dr. Morrison began her career in 1999 as a doctoral student at the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. During this time, Dr. Morrison had the good fortune of working with women who were victimized in abusive relationships and listening to the multitude of stories that these courageous women had to share. It was during this time that she became exceptionally mindful of the devastating impact of violence on the physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being of women who had been abused by the men who claimed to love them. As a result of these stories and many other stories of misogyny, Dr. Morrison chose to become involved in the ongoing fight to stop violence against women.

As a public health researcher, Dr. Morrison strove to discover innovative methods of preventing intimate partner and sexual violence within the African-American community. She also had interests in the empowerment of women and girls, community-based education, cultural sensitivity and competency among service organizations, the influence of legal processes on women of color in child custody cases, and human rights as it relates to violence against women.

Further, Dr. Morrison had designed rigorous research that has allowed the “voices” of victimized women to be represented in scientific and community-based literature. She has spoken to a number of women about their experiences with intimate partner and sexual violence and has presented her findings to a number of different organizations in an effort to enhance the audiences’ understanding of the challenges that women of color face when they are involved in abusive relationships. A strong interest of Dr. Morrison’s was exploring the concept known as the ‘Strong Black Woman’ and its influences on the help-giving behavior of service providers as well as the help-seeking behavior of African-American victims of abuse.

In addition, Dr. Morrison was the director of the Women’s Insights about Violence Project, a research study designed to explore the experiences of victimized women who represent different racial and ethnic groups. She authored several publications including a preventive handbook entitled "Talkin’ and Testifyin’: African-American Women Talk about Domestic Violence" that was distributed to Boston-area community-based organizations. A sought-after speaker, Dr. Morrison has been invited to present her work at organizations such as the Boston Public Health Commission and the Father Friendly Initiative (Boston, MA) as well as to different scholarly groups at Northeastern University, Boston University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Morrison has also given lectures at various regional and national conferences including the American Public Health Association and the Association for Women in Psychology.

Finally, Dr. Morrison has been the recipient of several honors including the Malcolm J. Dantzler award from the South Carolina Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association’s Delta Omega award for outstanding research. In addition, Morrison was privileged to be one of the few recipients to simultaneously receive both the Norman J. Arnold Outstanding Abstract Award and the Delta Omega Outstanding Abstract Award at the South Carolina Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

Related Projects:
  • African American Intimate Partner Violence: The ‘Strong Black Woman’ Is Dead