Professor Molnar is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences. She is the Director of the Population Health PhD Program and the Associate Director of the Institute for Urban Health Research and Practice (IUHRP) at Northeastern University. Dr. Molnar’s research is grounded in three public health domains: social epidemiology, prevention science, and psychiatric epidemiology. Studies focus on two major areas: (1) violent, traumatic experiences (such as child maltreatment, sexual violence, community violence) and the ways that they affect children, youth and those who respond to those who experience violence, i.e. vicarious trauma; and (2) the social context of high-risk behaviors among adolescents (the latter often being sequelae of the first.) One main area of Dr. Molnar’s expertise is multilevel methods, where she utilizes neighborhood-level analyses for insight into both etiology and prevention strategies. Another main area of expertise is community-based participatory research methodology, from systematic needs assessments to multilevel research designs, to survey/measures development, to evaluation research, to implementation, to analyses and dissemination. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Molnar’s work, strongly influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development, has focused on identifying neighborhood-level resources that can be mobilized to decrease levels of violence both in families and in communities. Current projects on which she is the Principal Investigator include the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit project funded by the Office for Victims of Crime; evaluation of three different federally funded interventions to prevent social emotional and behavioral disorders among young children; an NIH-funded evaluation study of Start Strong Boston, a middle school age dating violence preventive intervention delivered in after school programs; and a Tier 1 study of the role of justice in healing from sexual assault. Prior to joining Northeastern, Dr. Molnar was an Associate Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health where she co-founded the Boston Data Project at the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, where ongoing surveillance of youth violence and its risk and protective factors has been done since 2004.
Areas of Expertise (4)
Harvard University: Sc. D., Public Health 1999
Harvard University: S.M., Public Health 1996
University of California: B.S., Psychobiology 1988
- Faculty Affiliate: Institute on Health Equity and Social Justice
Media Appearances (4)
New Toolkit Designed to Help Those Who Help Trauma Victims
News @ Northeastern
The toolkit came about when social and psychiatric epidemiologist Beth Molnar, associate professor and director of the Population Health PhD Program at Northeastern, saw a call for proposals from the Office for Victims of Crime within the Department of Justice. Molnar has academic expertise, but she also has firsthand experience in victim services.
As a volunteer in the Boston Rape Crisis Center, Molnar would meet survivors of sexual assault in the emergency room. Although this work is understandably difficult, she never felt unsupported. The volunteers had ample opportunities to debrief and were encouraged to talk about their experiences...
Patriots Honor Professor for Providing Support to Victims of Sexual Violence
News @ Northeastern
Beth Molnar, an associate professor of health sciences at Northeastern, has received an award from the New England Patriots Foundation for her ongoing effort to provide critical support to victims of sexual violence through the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.
Molnar has volunteered at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center for 20 years, including the past four years as president of the center’s Board of Directors. She began volunteering in 1998 in the center’s medical accompaniment program, which provides 24-hour support to survivors of sexual assault. For seven years, she held the hands of sexual assault victims as they visited the emergency room, answered their questions, and advocated for their medical needs...
How Strong Neighborhood Ties Can Help Prevent Child Abuse
News @ Northeastern
“There are anecdotal reports now from neighbors asking, ‘How did we miss this? How did we not see what was going on? Why didn’t we pick up on this?’” said Beth Molnar, associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Northeastern.
As a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, Molnar has been studying youth violence and child abuse for more than two decades. She said one factor known to protect against child abuse is the amount of intergenerational closure within a neighborhood. This concept refers to things like how well adults know the children in their neighborhood, or how well they know the parents of their children’s friends...
Thousands walk to fundraise for sexual assault
The Huntington News
Beth Molnar, an associate health sciences professor at Northeastern University, has been involved with BARCC for almost 20 years. She said volunteers are essential to make organizations like BARCC flourish.
“They are really important,” she said. “I work as hard as I can to get friends and family to come and support our cause.”
BARCC consists of 27 full-time staff members and 120 to 140 volunteer workers. Molnar said BARCC can educate communities like Northeastern about rape prevention and coping.
“It is important to be a better bystander […] as well as recognizing consent,” Molnar said. “Every campus can do more.”...
Farm Syst Health
Street NW, McCormick MC, Austin SB, Slopen N, Habre R, Molnar BE
Shortened sleep duration in adolescence has been found to be associated with adverse health outcomes. While several studies have explored individual predictors, few have examined the role of neighborhood-level factors, family, and peer contexts as predictors of sleep among adolescents.
Beatriz ED, Molnar BE, Griffith JL, Salhi C
To assess whether country-level urban population growth is associated with the magnitude of the urban-rural disparity in under-five mortality (U5M) using ecologic and multilevel analyses.
Matern Child Health J
Beth Molnar et al.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an innovative early childhood mental health intervention, Massachusetts Project LAUNCH. Early childhood mental health clinicians and family partners (paraprofessionals with lived experience) were embedded within community pediatric medical homes. Methods A longitudinal study design was used to test the hypotheses that (1) children who received services would experience decreased social, emotional and behavioral problems over time and (2) caregivers' stress and depressive symptoms would decrease over time.
Child Abuse Negl
Beatriz ED, Salhi C, Griffith JL, Molnar BE
Despite indications that there are differences in rates of child maltreatment (CM) cases in the child protection system between urban and rural areas, there are no published studies examining the differences in self-reported CM prevalence and its correlates by urbanicity. The present study aimed to: (1) identify the distribution of self-reported childhood experiences of maltreatment by urbanicity, (2) assess whether differences by urbanicity persist after adjusting for known risk factors, and (3) explore whether the associations between these risk factors and CM are modified by urban-rural designation.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Pabayo R, Dunn EC, Gilman SE, Kawachi I, Molnar BE.
Although recent evidence has shown that area-level income inequality is related to increased risk for depression among adults, few studies have tested this association among adolescents.
We analysed the cross-sectional data from a sample of 1878 adolescents living in 38 neighbourhoods participating in the 2008 Boston Youth Survey. Using multilevel linear regression modelling, we: (1) estimated the association between neighbourhood income inequality and depressive symptoms, (2) tested for cross-level interactions between sex and neighbourhood income inequality and (3) examined neighbourhood social cohesion as a mediator of the relationship between income inequality and depressive symptoms...