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Dr. Pearl Berman received the Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award at the 24th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma presented by the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma.

The chair of IUP’s department of psychology received an Elder Abuse Prevention Award at the 24th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma.

Dr. Pearl Berman was honored with the Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award for her dedication toward the elder abuse prevention movement. 

According to Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT), Dr. Rosalie S. Wolf was a driving force behind the elder abuse prevention movement. She founded and served as president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA), edited the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect and conducted research as well as served as the founding Chairperson of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).

According to the INPEA, to earn the award means “an individual has demonstrated dedication and commitment to the ideals of Rosalie Wolf to prevent and reduce elder abuse and promote awareness through research, education, policy and practice.”

“Rosalie S. Wolf was so extraordinary that she was able to see the existence to elder abuse,” Berman said at the conference after receiving her award. “I can never see myself as having truly earned an award that has her name on it.”

IVAT credited Berman’s list of accomplishments that earned her the award through her interest in violence prevention that allowed her to integrate information and skills building toward interpersonal violence through her teaching. 

She has been a member of the IUP faculty for 33 years and is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty in providing treatment to victims of child abuse, neglect and family violence. 

She recently became president of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV), a partnership that partners with psychologists among others to implement a comprehensive plan to end interpersonal violence in three generations. As president, she led a “think tank” of about 90 professionals gathered in San Diego prior to the conference.

Berman is also the senior co-chair of the Training and Mentoring Action Team, a member of The Academy on Violence and Abuse and a member of The American Psychology Association.

Since working for the NCPEA, she was able to collaborate with the National Child Protection Training Center to expand its Child Advocacy Studies Program to be a Child and Adult Advocacy Program in order to increase the success of professionals entering child-serving sectors and to retain those professions in their positions. 

Foundations for Outreach through Experiential Child Advocacy Studies Training (FORECAST) selected Berman and IUP sociology faculty member Dana Witham as pilot participants in January 2018. Their mission is to develop further training partnerships with universities with the Child Advocacy Studies programs.

The FORECAST is a five-year grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through its National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative. They focus on developing a set of trauma-informed experiential reasoning skills using problem-based learning simulations (PBL-S) appropriate for use by undergraduate students and professionals entering child-serving sectors.

Berman and Witham were able to implement were able to integrate PBL-S and elder abuse into Child and Adult Advocacy Studies Minor, a program they co-direct at IUP.

The minor and certification programs at IUP are the first in the United States to address violence across the lifespan.

She is also the incoming Pennsylvania administrator for ChildFirst PA, a training program for first responders in interpersonal violence cases. 

Berman has published doctoral-level textbooks and has provided her research and clinical workshops nationally and internationally. Her publications include clinical texts, book chapters and newspaper articles focused on violence throughout life.

In September 2018, the fourth edition of her book, “Case Conceptualization and Treatment Planning, Integrating Theory with Clinical Practice,” expanded with information about violence throughout life, to take a trauma-informed approach and to integrate evidence-based practices.

In January 2020, she will release a new textbook focused on violence across a lifespan for undergraduate studies. It is designed to train social workers, police officers, psychologists and medical professional to respond effectively in cases of interpersonal violence. It will help students recognize the complexity of violence.

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