Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children

Division Details

Division Data Summary

Research and Training Details

Number of Faculty5
Number of Joint Appointment Faculty2
Number of Support Personnel5
Direct Annual Grant Support$318,095
Peer Reviewed Publications7

Clinical Activities and Training

Number of Clinical Staff7
Number of Clinical Fellows2
Number of Other Students43
Inpatient Encounters44
Outpatient Encounters1765

Division Photo

Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children

Front Row: J Harmony, M Greiner, E Pearl Messer

Back Row: E Duma, B Keeshin, R Shapiro, K Makoroff

Significant Accomplishments

Significant Accomplishments

The National Crisis of Child Abuse

The Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children plays a leading role nationally in the identification of child abuse and the protection of children. Child abuse is a national crisis that drives our commitment to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention to secure child safety. Our priorities include developing and refining clinical diagnosis and treatment, research to drive translational change, training healthcare professionals, and continuing our leadership role in protecting children.  The Mayerson Center team includes Cincinnati Children’s physicians, social workers, researchers, and nurses; Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services caseworkers; City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County law enforcement officers; and members of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office. Each week, more than 30 children are evaluated by the Center for concerns of child abuse or neglect. Clinical evaluations are multi-disciplinary, collaborative and conducted in an environment created to minimize child and family stress. Our specialty services include forensic interviewing, medical-legal examinations, trauma screening, evidence collection and testimony.

Addressing Behavioral Aspects of Abuse

In a collaborative effort between the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children and Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, psychologists Heather Bensman and Erica Messer are providing trauma-informed mental health services. Children evaluated for abuse and neglect through the Mayerson Center can now receive therapy at the center to address symptoms associated with trauma and maltreatment.

Earning National and International Recognition

Kathi Makoroff, MD, was elected President of the Ray Helfer Society, an international honorary society for child abuse physicians. Mary Greiner, MD, was invited to join the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s National Collaborative for Innovation in Quality Measurement (NCINQ) Foster Care Expert Advisory Panel. This group sets national standards for quality of care in the child welfare system.

Division Publications

Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children Publications

  1. Greiner MV, Palusci VJ, Keeshin BR, Kearns SC, Sinal SH. A preliminary screening instrument for early detection of medical child abuse. Hospital Pediatrics. 2013; 3:39-44.
  2. Gurwitch R, Fernandez S, Pearl E, Chung G. Utilizing parent-child interaction therapy to help improve the outcome of military families. Children, Youth and Families News. 2013; January.
  3. Lindberg DM, Shapiro RA, Blood EA, Steiner RD, Berger RP, ExSTRA investigators. Utility of hepatic transaminases in children with concern for abuse. Pediatrics. 2013; 131:268-75.
  4. Lindberg DM, Shapiro RA, Laskey AL, Pallin DJ, Blood EA, Berger RP, Ex SI. Prevalence of abusive injuries in siblings and household contacts of physically abused children. Pediatrics. 2012; 130:193-201.
  5. Rhine T, Wade SL, Makoroff KL, Cassedy A, Michaud LJ. Clinical predictors of outcome following inflicted traumatic brain injury in children. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012; 73:S248-53.
  6. Shein SL, Bell MJ, Kochanek PM, Tyler-Kabara EC, Wisniewski SR, Feldman K, Makoroff K, Scribano PV, Berger RP. Risk factors for mortality in children with abusive head trauma. J Pediatr. 2012; 161:716-722 e1.
  7. Wilson PM, Greiner MV, Duma EM. Posterior rib fractures in a young infant who received chiropractic care. Pediatrics. 2012; 130:e1359-62.

Faculty, Staff, and Trainees

Faculty Members

Robert Shapiro, MD, Professor
Leadership Director - Mayerson Center for Safe & Healthy Children; Program Director, Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (PSANE)
Research Interests Child abuse diagnosis,Community indicators of maltreatment, medical child abuse
Mary Greiner, MD, Assistant Professor
Leadership Director, CHECK Foster Care Clinic-within General & Community Pediatrics
Research Interests Head trauma, Outcomes of children in foster care
Kathi Makoroff, MD, MEd, Associate Professor
Leadership Fellowship Director, Child Abuse Pediatrics; Director, Child Abuse Pediatrics Resident/Medical Student Elective; Medical Director - CME, Chair of CME Committee
Research Interests Head trauma, bruises as indicators of abuse, Education
Erica Messer, PsyD, Assistant Professor
Research Interests PCIT therapy, Trauma in military families
Frank Putnam, MD, Adjunct
Leadership Member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Parental Depression
Research Interests Child Maltreatment and Neglect

Joint Appointment Faculty Members

Heather Bensman, PsyD, Assistant Professor (Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology)
Elena Duma, MD, Assistant Professor (Emergency Medicine)

Clinical Staff Members

  • Mary Pat Burke, BSN
  • Sharon Dickman, BSN, MSN, SANE-P, PSANE Coordinator;Educational Specialist
  • Cecilia Freihofer, MSW, LISW, HIV follow-up specialist
  • Heidi Malott, MSW, LISW-S, Clinical Program Manager;Member of Inter Professional Management Council
  • Andrea Powers, MSW, LISW
  • Andrea Richey, MSW, LSW, Peer Review Facilitator
  • Kaitlin Riffle, RN, PSANE Coordinator;Educational Specialist


  • Melissa Jimenez, MD, PGY-5, Tulane University
  • Brooks Keeshin, MD, PGY-7

Division Collaboration

Emergency Medicine » Berkeley Bennett, MD and
Skeletal survey study looking at utility of head CT in children with single extremity fractures.
Emergency Medicine » Elena Duma, MD
Revising the Cincinnati Children’s HIV screening policy and how their grant may affect PSANE cases.
Department of Radiology » Marguerite Care, MD and James Leach, MD
Benign Enlargement of Subarachnoid Spaces and Abusive Head Trauma.
Neurology » Hans Greiner, MD
Nonconvulsive Status Epilepticus and Abusive Head Trauma.
Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics » Robin Gurwitch, MD
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Child Adult Relationship Enhancement for U.S. Marine Corps Families.
Childhood Trust; Emergency Medicine » Barbara Boat, PhD and Cinnamon Dixon, MD
Children seen in a Pediatric Emergency Room Department for Dog Bites: Caregiver Assessment of the Need for a Continuum of Care.
Emergency Medicine » Berkeley Bennett, MD
Clinical Decision Rules to Discriminate.
Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation » Shari Wade, PhD
Division of Endocrinology » Susan Rose, MD
Rose Pilot SVS Study
Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology » Heather Bensman, PsyD
Psychological Services for Safe and Healthy Families.

Grants, Contracts, and Industry Agreements

Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children Grants

Grant and Contract AwardsAnnual Direct

Messer, E

Training of Marine Corps Therapists in PCIT and CARE

Olafson, E

Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice
U79 SM 06127309/30/12-09/29/16$113,241

Shapiro, R

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Victims of Crime Assistance
Ohio Network of Children's Advocacy Centers
Current Year Direct$318,095