Emily F. Rothman, ScD

Professor, Occupational Therapy

Emily Rothman
801 Massachusetts Ave Crosstown Center


Dr. Emily F. Rothman is professor and chair of the Occupational Therapy Department, with a secondary appointment at the BU School of Public Health where she has been a faculty member since 2004. Dr. Rothman is a social epidemiologist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan University and her doctorate in science from Harvard School of Public Health (’04). She began her professional career working in a domestic violence shelter, at a counseling program for men who perpetrated domestic violence, and volunteering for a sexual assault hotline in Vermont. Her public health research has focused on understanding the etiology of, and preventing, intimate partner and sexual violence, and has also involved research on firearm violence, human trafficking, and pornography. A through-line on these projects has been a focus on promoting health equity for marginalized populations, and in particular sexual and gender minority people, and Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC). In 2016, Dr. Rothman began a new line of research on autism, which takes a neurodiversity perspective and is conducted in partnership with autistic people. She has brought her scholarly interests together by developing interventions to prevent sexual and intimate partner violence for neurodiverse people. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers (as of May 2023). Her research has been published in journals including New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, JAMA Pediatrics, Journal of Adolescent Health, Prevention Science, Autism, OTJR, and AJOT.

Dr. Rothman has been a federally-funded principal investigator (PI) since 2009. She has been awarded more than $8M in external research funds, with grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), US Department of Defense (DoD), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Patient Centered Outcomes Institute (PCORI), Organization for Autism Research (OAR), and others. Her TED talk “How porn changes the way teens think about sex” has garnered more than 3.2 million views, and her research on pornography was a focus of a 2018 article in The New York Times Magazine. She is an appointed member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Sexual and Domestic Violence, and served on the Massachusetts Task Force on Sexual Assault Climate Surveys. She is the author of the book “Pornography and Public Health” (Oxford University Press, 2021). She is frequently consulted by media. She has appeared on the “Today” show on NBC, and her research has been featured on NPR and by The New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Teen Vogue, and other media outlets.

Affiliation: BU CRC Faculty/Staff

Other Positions

  • Chair, Occupational Therapy, Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College
  • Professor, Emergency Medicine, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
  • Professor, General Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
  • Professor, Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health


  • Harvard School of Public Health, ScD
  • Harvard School of Public Health, MS
  • Harvard School of Public Health, MS
  • Wesleyan University, BA


  • Published on 9/26/2023

    Holmes LG, Xuan Z, Quinn E, Caplan R, Sanchez A, Wharmby P, Holingue C, Levy S, Rothman EF. Alcohol Use Patterns Among Underage Autistic and Non-Autistic Youth. J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Sep 26. PMID: 37751088.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2023

    White SW, Siegle GJ, Kana R, Rothman EF. Correction to: Pathways to Psychopathology Among Autistic Adults. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2023 Sep; 25(9):437-438. PMID: 37665508.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2023

    Kaldenberg J, Smallfield S, Planche E, Heller S, Rothman E. Mapping the Gap: Understanding the Need for Occupational Therapy Among Older Adults With Visual Impairment. Am J Occup Ther. 2023 Sep 01; 77(5). PMID: 37774100.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/28/2023

    White SW, Siegle GJ, Kana R, Rothman EF. Pathways to Psychopathology Among Autistic Adults. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2023 Aug; 25(8):315-325. PMID: 37378790.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/11/2023

    Rothman EF, Jimenez C. Introduction to the Special Issue on Substance Use and Occupational Therapy. Subst Abuse. 2023; 17:11782218231160016. PMID: 36923067.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/1/2023

    Holmes LG, Goebel RJ, Hollingue C, Zhu S, Zhang H, Shan W, Wang S, Caplan R, Sanchez A, Wharmby P, Chiang M, Person M, Rothman EF. Reductions in Depression and Anxiety Among Autistic Adults Participating in an Intervention to Promote Healthy Relationships. Am J Occup Ther. 2023 Mar 01; 77(2). PMID: 37040101.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/27/2022

    Tiffany-Appleton S, Mickievicz E, Ortiz Y, Migliori O, Randell KA, Rothman EF, Chaves-Gnecco D, Rosen D, Miller E, Ragavan MI. Adolescent Relationship Abuse Prevention in Pediatric Primary Care: Provider, Adolescent, and Parent Perspectives. Acad Pediatr. 2023 Aug; 23(6):1151-1158. PMID: 36584939.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/16/2022

    Herbenick D, Guerra-Reyes L, Patterson C, Wilson J, Rosenstock Gonzalez YR, Voorheis E, Whitcomb M, Kump R, Theis E, Rothman EF, Nelson KM, Maas MK. #ChokeMeDaddy: A Content Analysis of Memes Related to Choking/Strangulation During Sex. Arch Sex Behav. 2023 Apr; 52(3):1299-1315. PMID: 36526942.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/15/2022

    Mumford EA, Rothman EF, Maitra P, Sheridan-Johnson J. U.S. Young Adults' Professional Help-Seeking in Response to Technology-Facilitated Abuse. J Interpers Violence. 2023 Jun; 38(11-12):7063-7088. PMID: 36519713.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/9/2022

    Rothman EF, Lynch AK. The State of the Science on Adverse Childhood Experiences. OTJR (Thorofare N J). 2023 Jan; 43(1):6-13. PMID: 36082458.

    Read at: PubMed

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