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Wendy Verhoek-Oftedahl Assistant Professor of the Practice in Epidemiology

Dr. Verhoek-Oftedahl is an injury epidemiologist who began her career as a cancer and chronic disease epidemiologist. In 1995 she was asked to conduct an evaluation of data sources suitable for public health surveillance of intimate partner violence in Rhode Island for a CDC-funded project. This work catapulted her into the field of violence prevention. She is currently the Family Violence Prevention and Community Development Coordinator for the province of Prince Edward Island, Canada. She is also principal investigator on an NIA Grant to evaluate methods for public health surveillance of elder mistreatment.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Schnitzer PG, Covington TM, Wirtz SJ, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Palusci VJ. The Public Health Surveillance of Fatal Child Maltreatment: Summary of Three State Programs. Am J Pub Health. 2008; 98:296-303.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Donnelly EF, Fenton M, Gilson T. Circumstances of suicide deaths in Rhode Island, 2004-2006. Med Health RI, 2008 Sept:91(9):289-290.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Bittel T, Kim MK, Donnelly EF, Gilson TP. Drug intoxication deaths involving methadone, 2004-2005. Med Health RI, 2007 May:90(5):163-4.

Almeida J, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Laposata E. Factors Associated with Suicide by Self Poisoning. American Association of Suicidology 38th Annual Conference. Partnerships for Change: Advancing Suicide Prevention Services and Practice, Denver, CO April 14, 2005.

Laposata EA, Swartz J, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Alvarez A, Donnelly EF, Buechner JS. Rhode Island Child Death Review Key Findings: 2000-2002 deaths. Med Health R I. 2005 Sep;88(9):321-2.

Sudderth L, Dubois J, Verhoek-Oftedahl W. Suspect and Victim Characteristics in Dual Arrests in Rhode Island. American Society of Criminology, Toronto, November 18, 2005.

Donnelly EF, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Buechner JS, Swartz J. Preliminary Results from the Rhode Island Violent Death Reporting System (RIVDRS). Med Health R I. 2005 Dec;88(12):443-444.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Devine, A. The Gray Zone between Children Witnessing Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment: A Call to Establish a Threshold for Intervention. Medicine and Health/Rhode Island 2003, 86(12):379-382.

Gelsvick A, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Pearlman D. Domestic violence incidents with children witnesses: Findings from Rhode Island surveillance data. Women's Health Issues 2003, 13(2):68-73.

Pearlman D, Zierler S, Gjelsvik A, Verhoek-Oftedahl W. Neighborhood environment, racial position, and risk of police-reported domestic violence: A contextual analysis. Public Health Rep 2003, 118(1):44-58.

Lemon SC, Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Donnelly EF. Preventive Healthcare Use, Smoking, and Alcohol Use Among Rhode Island Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence. J Women's Health and Gender Based Medicine 2002;11(6):555-562.

Dubois J, Verhoek-Oftedahl W. Specialized Incident-based Reporting System for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Invited speakers. 7th International Conference on Family Violence, San Diego, CA September 2002.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Jenny C, Hollinshead W. Monitoring of Child Maltreatment in Rhode Island in Panel Session: State-wide Monitoring of Child Maltreatment, United States. Victimization of Children & Youth: An International Research Conference. Family Research Laboratory and Crime Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire August 2002.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Silverman A. Understanding and Preventing Dating Violence. Panel presentation: Prevalence and Predictors of Dating Violence. Annual American Public Health Association 129th Annual Meeting and Exposition. Atlanta October 2001.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Pearlman DN, Babcock JC. Improving Surveillance of Intimate Partner Violence by Use of Multiple Data Sources. Am J Prev Med 2000;19(4):308-315.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Dubois J. Who is Witnessing Domestic Violence in Rhode Island? Resource Session. RI Attorney General's Conference. The Forgotten Victims: Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Providence, May 2000.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Babcock JC, Perez B, Thacher AK, Rhode Island's Public Health Surveillance System of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Oral presentation. National Sexual Violence Prevention Conference. Dallas, Texas, May 2000.

Verhoek-Oftedahl W, Silverman A, Dinklage S, Perez B and Thacher AK. Primary Prevention Secondary Prevention Results from the RI Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program. Oral presentation. 6th International Family Violence Research Conference. Durham, NH, July 1999.

research overview

Dr. Verhoek-Oftedahl's research is in public health surveillance and epidemiology of violence with particular interest in teen dating violence, domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, and elder abuse.

research statement

Dr. Verhoek-Oftedahl is currently conducting an evaluation of methods to improve estimates of incidence and prevalence of elder mistreatment. Her research, funded by the National Institute on Aging, involves linkage of data from official reporting sources of elder abuse and neglect. In addition, in her role as Family Violence Prevention and Community Development Coordinator Dr. Verhoek-Oftedahl is collaborating with Prince Edward Island government and community professionals to develop, implement and evaluate family violence prevention intitiatives at the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention level founded in the ecological model of prevention.

funded research

Co-Investigator, CDC Cooperative Agreement U81/CCU120888
"Surveillance of Child Maltreatment Morbidity in Rhode Island"
Effort 95%, Period of support 9/30/2001-9/29/2004, No-cost Extension 9/30/2004-6/30/2005
Total direct costs: $674,390

Co-Investigator, CDC Cooperative Agreement U81/CCU120884
"Surveillance of Child Maltreatment Mortality in Rhode Island"
Effort 5%, Period of support 9/30/2001-9/29/2004
Total direct costs: $146,290

Principal Investigator, NIH grant number 1R21AG030663
"Evaluation of Data Linkage Methodology to Improve Estimates of Elder Mistreatment"
Effort: 20%, Period of support: 9/30/07-6/30/09
Total direct costs: $209,000

Program Manager, CDC Cooperative Agreement 2U17CE123104-6
"Rhode Island Violent Death Reporting System"
Effort 35%, Period of support 8/15/2008-8/14/2013
Total direct costs: $597,970

Project Evaluator, SAMHSA grant number 1 SM058373-01
"Rhode Island Suicide Prevention Project"
Effort 25%, Period of Support: 9/30/08– 9/29/11
Total annual direct costs: $464, 862