Rachel Lovell  |  Senior Research Associate

12742729_514753635377821_6867956368352082973_nRachel Lovell, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate with the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)’s Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Her research interests focus primarily on gender-based violence—in particular, sexual assault, human sex trafficking and sex work, and intimate partner violence. She currently serves as Co-PI research partner on a Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Initiative grant funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. On the SAK project, she is currently examining issues pertaining to the unsubmitted SAKs in Cuyahoga County. Additionally, Rachel’s current research focuses on issues pertaining to human sex trafficking and sex work in Chicago, Illinois and Northeast Ohio.

Rachel is an experienced statistician/methodologist and has served in that capacity on some funded research projects. In terms of quantitative methodologies, Rachel has experience with (but not limited to) structural equation modeling, longitudinal data analysis, time series analysis, multivariate regression, survival analysis, quasi-experimental designs, missing data analysis, power analysis, and multilevel modeling. She is proficient in programming for several statistical packages (SPSS and Stata) and working knowledge of several others (SAS, R, Mplus, AMOS, HLM, LISREL, and LIMDEP).

She also designed, developed, and analyzed projects using qualitative methodologies such as structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews, focus groups, and content analysis. Additionally, she is proficient in several computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software programs (NVivo and ATLAS.ti).

Rachel has presented the findings from her research at national and international conferences in the criminology, mental/behavioral health, sociology, and related fields and published these results in various professional journals. She also served as an evaluator/methodologist for organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County Family and Children First Council, Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and the Begun Foundation.

Prior to coming to Case, Rachel served as the Senior Research Methodologist at the Social Science Research Center at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachel received her Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University. Her doctoral research examined cross-national gender differences in patterns and consequences of occupational-career interruptions in the United States, Sweden, and Poland. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

The Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Pilot Research Project

In the Fall of 2014, The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education was approached by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) for the purposes of understanding more about the unsubmitted SAKs being tested, investigated, and prosecuted by the Cuyahoga County SAK Task Force. Funded by the CCPO, a team of researchers at the Begun Center, headed by Drs. Daniel Flannery and Rachel Lovell, were given access to the SAK case files. The research team coded a random sample of 243 sexual assaults with completed investigations and either resulted in prosecution or were not pursued due to insufficient evidence. From the case files the team coded police and investigative reports, forensic lab reports, and criminal histories and developed an extensive database of codes to assist the CCPO in knowing more about the victims, offenders, serial offenders, and sexual assaults, when in the process the investigations are stalled, and the factors that lead to more successful prosecutions.

Cuyahoga County Tapestry System of Care

The Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care is a partnership of parent leaders, local agencies, neighborhood centers, and public partners that take a family-centered, team approach to serving children with multiple needs. The system of care is for the family who has a child at risk for or already involved with multiple child-serving systems or services, like Juvenile Court, the Department of Children and Family Services, alcohol and other drug counseling, and mental health. Rather than looking at what is “wrong” with the family, the team looks at the family’s strengths, needs, culture, and takes action. The Begun Center serves as the evaluator for Tapestry.


S100B blood levels and childhood trauma in adolescent inpatients | Journal of Psychiatric Research
Tatiana Falcone, Damir Janigro, Rachel Lovell, Barry Simon, Charles A. Brown, Mariela Herrera, Aye Mu Myint, Amit Anand
“Childhood trauma can potentially affect the integrity of the blood-brain barrier as indicated by associated increased S100B levels. In a multivariate regression model, suicidality scores and trauma were the only two variables which were independently related to serum S100B levels. Patients with greater levels of childhood trauma had significantly higher S100B levels even after controlling for intensity of suicidal ideation. Patients with psychotic diagnoses and mood disorders did not significantly differ in their levels of S100B. Patients exposed to childhood trauma were significantly more likely to have elevated levels of S100B than patients without trauma, and patients with trauma had significantly higher S100B levels when compared to the control group. LEC (p ¼ 0.046), and BPRS-C suicidality scores significantly predicted S100B levels. Levels of S100B were measured in a group of youth with mood disorders or psychosis with and without history of childhood trauma as well as in healthy controls. Study participants were 93 inpatient adolescents admitted with a diagnosis of psychosis (N ¼ 67), or mood disorder (N ¼ 26) and 22 healthy adolescents with no history of trauma or psychiatric illness. Childhood trauma was documented using the Life Events Checklist (LEC) and Adverse Child Experiences (ACE). Read full article

The Rural Pastors Initiative: Addressing Isolation and Burnout in Rural Ministry | Pastoral Psychology
Greg Scott & Rachel Lovell
“We present findings from an 18-month evaluative study in which we gathered survey and telephone interview data on 51 rural pastors who participated in an intervention designed to help them overcome some of the biggest hurdles in their professional lives (including loneliness, isolation, burnout, an imbalance between personal and professional life, and an absence of self-care activities) and to buttress the primary means by which they try to ameliorate these problems: cultivation of spiritual closeness to God. We contextualize our findings in rural environments, a reality that puts pastors in the position of ministering to their congregations but also performing an array of social services for which they never received training. Our findings suggest that rural pastors suffer an appreciable degree of loneliness and isolation. While some conditions improved over the course of the program, the participants continued to struggle with the structural and organizational barriers endemic to daily life as a rural minister. This intervention appears to have helped participants enhance their professional aptitudes, reduce their reported degree of loneliness, and connect horizontally with other congregational leaders.” Read full article

Do John Schools Really Decrease Recidivism?
A methodological critique of an evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program

Rachel Lovell and Ann Jordan
A growing number of governments are creating “john schools” in the belief that providing men with information about prostitution will stop them from buying sex, which will in turn stop prostitution and trafficking. John schools typically offer men arrested for soliciting paid sex the opportunity (for a fee) to attend lectures by health experts, law enforcement and former sex workers in exchange for cleared arrest records if they are not re-arrested within a certain period of time. A 2008 examination of the San Francisco john school, “Final Report on the Evaluation of the First Offender Prostitution Program,” claims to be the first study to prove that attending a john school leads to a lower rate of recidivism or re-arrest (Shively et al.). Despite its claims, the report offers no reliable evidence that the john school classes reduce the rate of re-arrests. This paper analyzes the methodology and data used in the San Francisco study and concludes that serious flaws in the research design led the researchers to claim a large drop in re-arrest rates that, in fact, occurred before the john school was implemented. Read full report


“Trafficking: Voices, Frames & Strategies” | A Panel Discussion
U.N. World Day of Social Justice “On Human Trafficking”
February 21-22, 2014
In honor of the United Nations’ World Social Justice Day, the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University held a two-day conference exploring issues and solutions. Rachel participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Trafficking: Voices, Frames, and Strategies,” that challenge the preconceived notions of exploitation.
View Video of Conference

‘Transgender “Johns” in Chicago:
Why Chicago arrests so many transgender women for “buying” sex’
| Rachel Lovell, Ph.D.
11th annual Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Work Conference
University of Toledo | September 18-19, 2014
Since 2004, The Annual Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Work Conference has been bringing together researchers, practitioners, and individuals with lived experience in an effort to lay the groundwork for future collaborative research, advocacy, and program development.

Post-Performance Talk-Back Panel on Domestic Violence following the play ‘Dolores’ | September 21, 2014
Rachel served as a talk-back panelist for a post-production discussion on domestic violence following a New York staging of the play, ‘Dolores,’ the story of two sisters that encompasses the search for love, sibling rivalry, domestic violence and aspiration.
Learn More about the Play

“The Impact of Childhood Abuse on the Risk for Out of Home Placement
for Youth Participating in a Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice Diversion Program”

Butcher F, Kretschmar J, Lovell R | November 2013
American Society for Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta GA
The American Society of Criminology is an international organization whose members pursue scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. The Society’s objectives are to encourage the exchange, in a multidisciplinary setting, of those engaged in research, teaching, and practice so as to foster criminological scholarship, and to serve as a forum for the dissemination of criminological knowledge. Our membership includes students, practitioners, and academicians from the many fields of criminal justice and criminology.

“When to Use Which Statistical Test”
Lovell R
Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities at MetroHealth Medical Center
Sept 5, 2013

“Lessons Learned from an Evaluation of Process the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force Developed for Testing, Investigating, and Prosecuting a Backlog of Unsubmitted SAKs”
Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Sociological Society

“Measuring the Counterfactual via Case Notes in an Evaluation of Homeless Protection Programs”
Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Sociological Society

“Preliminary Findings on Serial Sexual Offenders from the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force”
71st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology

“‘Transgender Johns’ in Chicago: Why Chicago Arrests So Many Transgender Women for ‘Buying Sex'”
Toledo, OH at Annual Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Work Conference

“Combating Sexual Assault in Ohio: The Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force”
Marion, OH

“Wraparound Fidelity Monitoring: Using Process to Improve Outcomes in the Child Welfare System”
Tampa, FL at the 28th Annual Research Conference Proceedings: Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference

“Wraparound Fidelity Monitoring: Using Process to Improve Outcomes in the Child Welfare System”
Cleveland, OH at Case Western Reserve University Showcase

“The Opiate and Heroin Epidemic: The Changing Face of Ohio’s Criminal”
Toledo, OH at the UMADAOP Conference

“Measuring Wraparound in a System of Care Project”
Tampa, FL at Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference