Violence and Abuse Resource Consortium

Pryale Hall, Room 111
654 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4482
(location map)

About VARC

and Goals
Mission Statement

The mission of the Violence & Abuse Resource Consortium (VARC) is to promote university and community outreach, facilitate education and training, and inform public policy on violence and abuse.

  • Create a network for collaboration between university researchers and community anti-violence practitioners
  • Promote prevention and intervention services, activities, and events in the campus and local community
  • Provide opportunities for student engagement with community anti-violence agencies
  • Establish Oakland University as an information center for violence and abuse research and resources

Amanda Burgess-Proctor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Criminal Justice                    

My primary research interests include intimate partner and sexual abuse, women’s experiences with trauma and violent victimization over the life course, and intersections of race, class, and gender. Most of my research involves in-depth interviews with marginalized women who have experienced intimate partner abuse. I also am interested in substance abuse, especially as a correlate of violent victimization, and in the development of evidence-based drug and crime control policy. 

Scott M. Pickett, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
I am interested in examining risk and recovery factors associated with psychological trauma, such as emotion regulation strategies and positive health behaviors (e.g., adequate sleep quality). Using both correlational and experimental designs, I have examined the emotional contexts in which emotion regulation strategies are enacted and how health behaviors are impacted by these contexts and strategies. Given the reciprocal nature between emotion, emotion regulation and health outcomes, my research aims to understand the mechanisms involved in these relationships to inform prevention and intervention efforts.

Michele Parkhill Purdie, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
My primary research interests concern the predictors and consequences of sexual assault perpetration and victimization, with a particular emphasis on substance use and emotion regulation. I have established a strong program of research that focuses on both survey and experimental methodologies in examining how alcohol influences past sexual assault perpetration and the likelihood of engaging in sexual assault perpetration in the future.


Kelly Berishaj, DNP
Special Lecturer
School of Nursing

I am an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and Forensic Nurse Examiner.  My primary area of practice involves caring for patients who are victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.  A primary goal of mine is to develop an academically-based forensic nursing program and increase the availability of education in this nursing specialty.  I am further dedicated to participating in efforts to help end gender-based violence through work on the Violence Prevention Task Force at Oakland University.

Margaret Glembocki, DNP
Assistant Professor
School of Nursing

Areas of expertise include: critical care nursing, emergency nursing, caring theory, caring science, relationship-based care, organizational transformation, and forensic nursing.

Todd K. Shackelford, PhD
Professor and Chair 
Department of Psychology                             

I am an evolutionary psychologist with long-standing interest in identifying the causes and consequences of violence, especially violence against intimate partners. Much of my research has investigated male sexual jealousy as a cause of intimate partner violence and sexual coercion.

Erin Comartin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Social Work

I am a social work faculty member whose research interests include perpetrators of sexual violence. My primary area of research is the study of state level advocacy groups that seek to amend sex offender registry laws. I have previously investigated the experiences of family members who have a young family member listed on the public registry and public perceptions of sex offender management policies. Additionally, my primary areas of practice in the field as a social worker was with youth homelessness and victims of sexual violence.

Wendi Johnson, PhD

Assistant Professor
Criminal Justice

My research interests include intimate partner violence, family violence, and antisocial behavior. I use longitudinal data to examine intrapersonal change in patterns of intimate partner violence (victimization and perpetration) across adolescence and young adulthood.  Additional work also relies on a life course perspective to highlight the associations between parent-child relationships (including parent-child physical violence) and changes in behavior during the transition to adulthood.  

Patricia Wren, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor
Health Sciences

My research centers on improving health outcomes across a range of physical and mental health conditions. Currently Dr. Wren is one of four co-investigators on GRASP, a campus-wide initiative to prevent suicide and improve mental health in students, faculty, and staff. She continues to provides expertise in the design of public health interventions and the measurement of important outcomes including satisfaction and optimism, health decision-making, functional status, and quality of life.