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Advocating for Vulnerable Children

Professor Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell PhD, RN, FAAN is an advocate. She is a pioneer. She is a leader. Recognized internationally for her contributions as an expert on vulnerable children, Dr. Dowdell is an American Nursing Academy fellow. Dr. Dowdell’s significant and sustained contributions as a nursing leader in addition to her research on the perils of teen internet behavior has gained her national and international recognition.


Advocate for the Vulnerable

Dr. Dowdell's research, which she conducts with her students, covers a range of cutting edge topics. Her work has focused on the root causes of homelessness and considered factors including housing, safety and stability. “Interpersonal violence, in particular, remains one of the leading causes of homelessness and housing instability for women and girls, and can prolong or compound the impact of housing instability on vulnerable families. Mothers influence the health outcomes of their children, and having stable living conditions, coupled with access to health care, leads to healthy families.” Dr. Dowdell’s work looks at the impact nursing management and care can potentially have on reducing trauma for mothers, “which means better outcomes for babies and children”.


Internet safety

Through her research, Dr. Dowdell also explores the dangerous behaviors of children involved in social media and the health risks posed by their online behaviors - exploring the interrelationships among various forms of electronic aggression, including “cyber-bullying” and “sexting.” Her work informs policy on strategies for protecting children and adolescents from Internet-associated hazards and is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention at the US Department of Justice.

Dr. Dowdell received her BSN from Vanderbilt University, her MSN from Boston College and her PhD from University of Pennsylvania.