Casey Taft, PhD, Awarded Funding to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence

Image of man against plain white background with short dark hair, dark button up shirt, smiling.Casey Taft, PhD, professor of psychiatry, has been approved for a five-year, $2.8 million funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for his research study “A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate a Trauma-Informed Partner Violence Intervention Program.”

Taft, who also is a staff psychologist at the National Center for PTSD in the VA Boston Healthcare System, is conducting a randomized controlled trial of the Strength at Home program to prevent and end intimate partner violence (IPV) in Rhode Island. Strength at Home is the only such program shown effective in preventing partner violence in military veterans. Taft will examine whether this program is also effective within civilian populations.

IPV, specifically physical and psychological aggression toward an intimate partner, represents a public health crisis that affects millions of Americans each year. It contributes to a range of mental and physical health conditions in survivors, and children exposed to IPV are at an increased risk for psychological, social, emotional, behavioral problems and are also more likely to engage in IPV later in life.

“Presently there is little evidence from randomized controlled trials (the gold standard method for determining effectiveness) showing that available interventions prevent and end perpetration of IPV in the general (civilian) population. This lack of demonstrated intervention effectiveness in existing programs is troubling, considering that approximately half a million people are court-mandated to these programs each year in the U.S.,” says Taft, the primary developer of the Strength at Home program.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other healthcare stakeholders, but also for its conduct in real-world settings. It has the potential to answer an important question about intimate partner violence and fill a crucial evidence gap,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Boston University to share the results.” 

Taft has served as principal investigator on funded grants focusing on understanding and preventing partner violence through the National Institute of Mental Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Defense, the Blue Shield Foundation of California, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

The 2009 Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award winner from the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, Taft is on the editorial boards of five journals and has published more than 125 academic articles and an American Psychological Association book on trauma-informed partner violence intervention. 

Taft’s study was selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. It was selected for funding through a PCORI program designed to support research that produces results that are broadly applicable to a diverse range of patients and care situations and can be more quickly taken up in routine clinical practice.  

Taft’s award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract. 

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress with a mission to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that provides patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better informed health and healthcare decisions.