Press Release




NEW YORK – In an effort to enhance the quality and impact of its work – and to improve adoption generally – the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is proud to announce it is creating a new Senior Research Fellows Program. This unprecedented initiative will, for the first time, regularly convene a group of the most accomplished experts in the field to share their knowledge, disseminate their findings, and help to shape better adoption policies and practices.

The initial Senior Fellows in the new program, in alphabetical order, are: Dr. Richard Barth of the University of North Carolina; Dr. David Brodzinsky of Rutgers University; Dr. Harold Grotevant of the University of Minnesota; Dr. Victor Groza of Case-Western University; Madelyn Freundlich, LLD, a policy researcher and consultant; Dr. Dana Johnson of the International Adoption Clinic at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Ruth McRoy of the University of Texas; Dr. Ellen Pinderhughes of Tufts University; and Dr. Scott Ryan of Florida State University.

“I am both proud and grateful that this extraordinary group of professionals has agreed to join us,” said Adam Pertman, the Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. “I think it makes a powerful statement about the high regard with which our work is held in the field of adoption and foster care, and I’m confident they will elevate our work – and its impact – even further.”

The Senior Research Fellows will enhance and expand the initiatives of the Adoption Institute by contributing their knowledge and expertise, by providing substantive content from their research and experience, by helping to shape and vet our products so they achieve the highest possible standards and impact, and by assisting in focusing our efforts on the vitally important issues that affect tens of millions of children and families in our country every day.

The Institute’s Senior Fellows are among the most prominent and esteemed researchers, lecturers and writers in the fields of adoption and foster care today. Short biographies follow; longer versions can be found on our award-winning website,

RICHARD P. BARTH, the Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was recently named Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. He serves on the editorial boards of several professional journals, is the Principal Investigator of the California Long-Range Adoption Study (in its 14th year), has conducted many other studies, and has evaluated post-adoption services in numerous states. He received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1990, the 1998 Presidential Award for Excellence in Research from the National Association of Social Workers, and the 2005 Flynn Prize for Research. Dr. Barth lectures internationally, and has written many books and articles.

DAVID BRODZINSKY, a longtime Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Foster Care Counseling Project at Rutgers University, has written and lectured extensively in the fields of developmental and clinical psychology. He is an internationally known expert, trainer, researcher and speaker on adoption-related issues, and is the co-author or co-editor of such well-respected books as “The Psychology of Adoption,” “Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self,” “Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice,” and “Children’s Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues.” Among his honors, Dr. Brodzinsky received an Angel in Adoption award from the U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

MADELYN FREUNDLICH, a consultant to adoption and foster care organizations nationally, is one of the country’s most respected researchers, trainers and policy professionals in the field of child welfare. She has created numerous initiatives that have defined best practices and shaped many programs that benefit children and families, and has developed practice and policy efforts that have gained national recognition. Her extensive writing includes four volumes on adoption and ethics, and several best-practices guides. She has served as General Counsel and Director of Child Welfare Services for the Child Welfare League of America, as Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and as Policy Director for Children’s Rights Inc.

HAROLD GROTEVANT, the Distinguished University Teaching Professor of Family Social Science and adjunct professor of Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota, is an international leader in adoption theory and research. He has made major contributions to the understanding of openness in adoption, relationship dynamics in adoptive families, and adoptive identity development in adolescents and young adults. Dr. Grotevant has received major research grants from federal, foundation and university sources. He is highly sought as a lecturer and has written/contributed to several books, including “Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections” (with R. McRoy), as well as many book chapters and articles.

VICTOR GROZA is a Professor of Social Work at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is best known for his adoption outcomes studies, evaluating the effects of pre-adoption history of children adopted from the public system in the United States, as well as the effects of pre-adoption institutionalization on international adoptees and their families. He has conducted eminent research in Romania, India and the Ukraine. He is on the editorial boards of several child welfare journals, has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has authored or co-authored several books.

DANA E. JOHNSON is the Director of the International Adoption Clinic and of the Division of Neonatology at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. His ongoing research focuses on the short- and long-term effects of early childhood institutionalization on child health and early development. A pioneer in the field of adoption medicine, Dr. Johnson directs the largest adoption-related medical program in the world. He serves on the editorial boards of several publications and has written more than 200 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts.

RUTH McROY is a Research Professor and the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. She has received several research awards, including the 2004 National Flynn Prize from the University of Southern California School of Social Work, the 2005 T. George Silcott Lifetime Achievement Award by the Black Administrators in Child Welfare, and the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award by the Society for Social Work and Research. She has been a leading expert in the field for over 20 years; she is among the most prolific lecturers and trainers in the country and has written seven books, including “Special Needs Adoptions: Practice Issues” and “Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections” (with H. Grotevant), as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

ELLEN PINDERHUGHES is the incoming Chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. She is a developmental and clinical psychologist who has worked as a therapist and a clinical consultant. Her research focuses primarily on the complex interplay of family dynamics in adoptive and biological families with children at risk for problem outcomes. With 20 years of clinical and research experience in adoption, Dr. Pinderhughes is nationally known for her work on older child adoptions, and has recently initiated research on international adoptions. She serves on several professional editorial boards, including Adoption Quarterly, and has written extensively on adoption-related issues in books and journals.

SCOTT RYAN is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean at Florida State University’s College of Social Work, and is also the Director of the Institute for Social Work Research. He has worked extensively with adoptive families for over a decade in a variety of roles, including clinician, educator/trainer and researcher. Dr. Ryan has led high-impact research projects on a wide array of child-welfare topics, including adoptive family structure, children’s development in families headed by same-sex parents, the impact of institutionalization, and post-adoption support services. He serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Adoption Quarterly.

The Adoption Institute, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Its mission is to provide leadership that improves laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. In order to achieve its goals, the Institute conducts and synthesizes research; offers education to inform public opinion; promotes ethical practices and legal reforms, and works to translate policy into action. The Institute is nonpartisan, non-profit and independent of any constituency or cause.

For more information about the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, its Senior Research Fellows Program, or any of its other programs or projects, please contact Chief Executive April Dinwoodie at 212-925-4089 or