U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Michelle S. Ballan, Ph.D., MSW

2024 Building Knowledge Through Research Award
Watch the tribute video

Michelle S. Ballan, Ph.D., MSW | Building Knowledge Through Research Award
Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the School of Social Welfare
Director, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities Center
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York

Michelle Ballan is a Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the School of Social Welfare; Professor of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine at Renaissance School of Medicine; Research Director for the Stony Brook Early Childhood Clinic; and Director of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) Center at Stony Brook University.

Her research and practice focus on the identification and amelioration of barriers impacting the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities and their families. Dr. Ballan’s pioneering research explores intimate partner violence, a public health concern that disproportionately impacts individuals with disabilities. She incrementally addresses foci by examining the interpersonal and contextual factors affecting access to services and treatment.

Dr. Ballan pursues research alongside colleagues with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who she has trained and supported in their role as research team members. Alongside these team members, she mentors several Assistant Professors across schools and numerous predoctoral and postdoctoral LEND trainees across 10 healthcare disciplines, in addition to families and self-advocates.

Dr. Ballan works collaboratively with practitioners and nonprofits helping them to better understand the needs of their clients with disabilities and build the research infrastructure to document the effectiveness of their work. Her research has yielded insight into the factors motivating people with disabilities to seek assistance from domestic violence agencies and has highlighted the need for increased interdependence and self-efficacy to enable individuals to find alternatives to violent relationships.

Throughout each research study, Dr. Ballan recognizes that community engagement is essential in relevant knowledge-building and generating readily implementable policy and practice. Her chief research endowment is involving survivors and clients living with disabilities in her research design from the formative stages, through dissemination and manuscript writing.

Dr. Ballan was awarded a 2020 National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Switzer Research Distinguished Level Fellowship to test an evidence-informed intervention for women with physical disabilities experiencing intimate partner violence. In 2021, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation awarded Dr. Ballan a grant to research the experiences of women with spinal cord injury and intimate partner violence and to create training modules for practitioners across several healthcare disciplines to recognize signs of abuse and assess patients with disabilities for intimate partner violence.

She has recently published articles on domestic violence and disability in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Family Violence, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and Disability and Rehabilitation.

2024 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this tribute video about Michelle S. Ballan, Ph.D., MSW, 2024 recipient of the Building Knowledge Through Research Award.