“For every substantiated case of physical child abuse in the
U.S., approximately 40 more exist that go undetected. It’s
heartbreaking,” said Dr. Michele Knox, University of
Toledo professor of psychiatry who has dedicated her life to
protecting children and educating parents with alternative
methods of discipline.
She recently was awarded her second Fulbright award to visit the
Netherlands to find innovative and effective ways to
improve child abuse prevention in the United States.
“I am honored to receive this award. It is an opportunity to
bring home new ideas and approaches because the Netherlands
is among the nations with the lowest rates of child maltreatment
deaths,” Dr. Knox said. “I will be learning from the people
there and benefiting from their expertise, knowledge and
Starting in spring 2019, Dr. Knox will spend nearly three weeks
at the University of Utrecht, the largest university in
“This is a big change from my last Fulbright Specialist project,
which was in northern Portugal,” Dr. Knox said. “I was
teaching the Portuguese how to use evidence-based parenting
group programs to prevent child abuse.”
The United States, Mexico, and Portugal have
“exceptionally” high rates of child maltreatment deaths,
according to the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
For 16 years, Dr. Knox has been a master trainer for the
American Psychological Association’s ACT (Adults and
Children Together) Raising Safe Kids Program, which trains
parents and caregivers in nonviolent discipline, child
development, anger management and social problem-solving skills.
While in the Netherlands, Dr. Knox plans to teach college
students and professionals about the ACT program and other
topics related to child abuse and well-being.
She teaches medical students and residents at UT. She also is a
clinical psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents
and trauma; child abuse prevention; and parenting.
“Spanking is often the first step in the cycle of child abuse,
and it can result in aggressive behavior and delinquency in
kids,” Dr. Knox said. “I teach alternative methods of discipline
for positive parenting solutions, such as the use of time-outs,
removal of privileges, and positive reinforcement to reward the
child’s good behavior.”
Her current research addresses factors related to harsh and
abusive parenting, outcomes of child maltreatment prevention
programs, and the efficacy of the Child Advocacy Studies
Training program for medical students.