BCTR research scientist Janis Whitlock received an award to teach about and study non-suicidal self-injury, parenting and social media and mental health at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and KU Leuven in Belgium. The five-month, $38,000 award is provided by The Francqui Foundation and cover travel, lodging and a living stipend.
Whitlock will travel to Belgium during the spring of 2021 to collaborate with research colleagues. They will develop self-injury and larger mental health challenge prevention programs for schools and families. Whitlock will also give lectures to university students on topics including translational research, adolescent and young adult development and sexual violence prevention.
“I was quite surprised to learn that I had won the award, especially since it is a countrywide competition,” Whitlock said. “Being recognized for this and for the strong international collaborations I have fostered over the last decade and a half is both unexpected and delightful!
“Fostering collaboration in service to science with clear translational implications is the heart of my work,” she said. “I am absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to work closely with several colleagues while we are all in the same time zone!”
The award is the result of years of international collaboration that began with a meeting at Cornell in 2006 that brought together international scholars focused on the topic of non-suicidal self-injury, Whitlock said.
“From that summer 2006 meeting came the beginning of an international consortium of scholars from all over the world who have collectively advanced the field through direct contributions of science and the training of young scholars,” she said. “As we have all grown and branched into other areas, so too has the field.
“Notably, this meeting would not have happened without the support and vision of John Eckenrode, then director for what is now the BCTR, and Jane Powers, current director of the ACT for Youth, along with a few other senior staff.”
While in Belgium, Whitlock will work with two research colleagues: Imke Baetens, a professor of clinical and lifespan psychology at Vrije University, and Laurence Claes, professor of clinical psychology at the Univesity of Lueven.