PROVIDENCE – East Greenwich resident and professional psychologist Lindsay Orchowski was honored at Lifespan’s most recent annual meeting with the 2019 Bruce M. Selya Award for Excellence in Research. The Selya Award was created to commend contributions to medical research, and was awarded to Orchowski after her nomination by Jody Underwood, the psychiatrist-in-chief for the Lifespan Physician Group and an associate professor of clinical psychology at Brown University.
“Dr. Orchowski’s work is not only known for its theoretically-driven, methodologically rigorous approach, but also for its emphasis on leveraging community partnerships for maximum impact and sustainability,” Underwood wrote in her nomination letter. “Her research has tremendous potential to contribute not only to our scientific understanding of ‘what works’ in real communities, but also to reduce the rates of sexual assault among adolescents throughout the state.”
Orchowski previously distinguished herself nationally in the fields of alcohol abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence, and her current research is dedicated to sexual assault prevention. Her research program has garnered more than $6.7 million in less than a decade. That funding will go to advancing the development and evaluation of sexual assault prevention programs for middle school, high school, college and military populations. Her work is also supported by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the Department of Education.
The results of her work, Underwood said, will likely serve as an exemplar for other states and be scaled across the country.
Indeed, Orchowski’s research and focus on youth groups seems more relevant than ever. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that as many as 29.9 percent of women and 19.3 percent of men in Rhode Island have been the victims of domestic violence with an intimate partner, including physical violence, rape and stalking. Importantly, children were present in 28 percent of Rhode Island domestic violence incidents when the data was last updated in 2010, and 11 percent of Rhode Island high school students reported being harmed physically by a significant other.
Orchowski holds posts as an associate editor for “Psychology of Women Quarterly” and as a consulting editor for “Psychology of Violence.” She has published more than 75 peer-reviewed scientific papers and chapters, and has given over 225 presentations at regional, national and international conferences. Most recently, she published the book, “Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Resistance: Theory Research and Practice,” and is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume addressing men’s role in sexual assault prevention. She earned her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College before completing a doctorate in clinical psychology at Ohio University in the Laboratory for the Study and Prevention of Sexual Assault, simultaneously earning a graduate certificate in women’s studies. She completed her psychology residency at Brown University, and is now a member of the Lifespan Physician Group and a staff psychologist in the Rhode Island Hospital adult outpatient division.
Orchowski will now join the dozens of medical researchers to be honored by the Lifespan board since the instituting of the Selya award in 1999.
The Lifespan board instituted the award in 1999 to honor Bruce Selya, chairman of the Lifespan board from the creation of Lifespan in 1994 until 1999, and senior judge on the first circuit court. The award singles out those who demonstrate a “steadfast commitment to academic medicine and keen insight concerning the importance of academic programs to quality health care at Lifespan.” The award is intended to recognize a rising star in research, an independent investigator who has demonstrated excellence through a record of high-quality peer-reviewed publication and ability to attract research funding.