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. These efforts have involved active collaborations with the Boston Public Health Commission, the MA Department of Public Health, Boston Public Schools, national organizations representing first responders and victim services providers, the Boston Police Department, among others. Outside of Northeastern, Dr. Molnar is the Board President of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, a non-profit with a mission to end sexual violence through healing and social justice.
Associate Professor of Health Sciences
Associate Director of IUHRP
Phone: (617) 373-8936
Duncan DT, Piras G, Dunn EC, Johnson RM, Melly SJ, Molnar BE. The built environment and depressive symptoms among urban youth: A spatial regression study. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 2013; Vol. 5: 11-25.
Hepburn L, Azrael D, Molnar BE, Miller M. Bullying and suicidal behaviors among urban high school youth. Journal of Adolescent Health 2012; Vol. 51: 93-95.
Jain S, Buka SL, Subramanian SV, Molnar BE. Protective factors for youth exposed to violence: Role of developmental assets for building emotional resilience. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2012; Vol. 10(1): 107-129.
Molnar BE, Goerge RM, Gilsanz P, Subramanian SV, Holton JK, Hill A, Duncan DT, Beatriz ED, Beardslee WR. Neighborhood-level social processes and substantiated cases of child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect 2016; Vol. 51: 41-53.
Pabayo R, Molnar BE, Kawachi I. Witnessing a violent death and smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use among adolescents. Journal of Urban Health 2014; Vol. 91(2): 335-354.
Pabayo R, Molnar BE* Craddock A, Kawachi I, The relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics and physical inactivity among adolescents living in Boston, Massachusetts. American Journal of Public Health 2014; Vol. 104(11): e142-9.
Schmidt NM, Tchetgen EJ, Ehntholt A, Almeida J, Nguyen QC, Molnar BE, Azrael D, Osypuk TL. Does neighborhood collective efficacy for families change over time? The Boston Neighborhood Survey. Journal of Community Psychology 2013; Vol. 42(1): 61-79.