Committees, Special Interest Groups and Liaisons

The Helfer Executive Committee established a new award program to support the work of Helfer Committees. Two awards were announced on January 1. Please select this link for descriptions of the projects being funded.

There’s much to be done and we really need you to help our Society fulfill its mission of leading our field. Please consider where you’d like to participate (must be a member of the Society) and contact the chair(s) listed below. Some committees or special interest groups (SIGs) may have limited membership, so act soon!

Committee members may login to download Guidelines for Helfer Society Committees, approved by the Executive Committee, in the Resources section in the Member Center.

You may also review how these Helfer committees and special interest groups are defined, along with expectations and privileges, by scrolling down this page or selecting this link which will take you directly to this section.


Awards Committee

Suzanne Starling 

Mission: To select the physician who has made the greatest contribution to child abuse pediatrics.

Annual Meeting Committee

Tara Holloran, Terra Frazier and Kristin Crichton

Mission: To work with the President to program an annual scientific meeting for the Ray Helfer Society, and oversee its implementation.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Hiu-fai Fong and Katie Johnson 

This committee serves to support the personal and professional growth of Helfer members in creating a diverse and equitable community in which all of its members are included and supported.

Safer Space Initiative: The Safer Space Initiative aims to support inclusivity within the Helfer Society by giving members a process through which exclusionary behavior may be identified and acknowledged in a trauma-informed and education-focused way. For more information about the process or to submit an intake, please see the Safer Space Initiative process and intake form. Intakes sent to [email protected] will be received by one of the Safer Space subcommittee members listed below. If you would feel more comfortable sending your intake to only one of these members, you may do so.

Safer Space Subcommittee Members:
Melissa Currie ([email protected])   
Hiu-fai Fong ([email protected])
Katie Johnson ([email protected])            
Aaron Miller ([email protected])                 
Norell Rosado ([email protected])
Kim Schwartz ([email protected])
Andrew Sirotnak ([email protected]

Education Committee

Kathryn Wells and Emily Killough 

Executive Committee

Nancy Harper

This committee is responsible for leading the Helfer Society.

Fellowship Program Directors Committee

Megan Letson and Natalie Kissoon 

Mission: To facilitate excellence in clinical and research training in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics by supporting the growth and development of Child Abuse Pediatric Fellowship Programs.


  1. To facilitate the development of collaborative relationships between CAP Fellowship program directors.
  2. To facilitate communication and collaboration around issues affecting CAP fellowship programs including but not limited to program development, accreditation, work force, funding, and curriculum design.
  3. To provide a forum to share best practices and new innovations in CAP fellowship training.
  4. To support CAP fellowship program directors in monitoring and responding to new developments in fellowship training and accreditation requirements.
  5. To represent the interests of CAP fellowships and fellowship program directors to other organizations and regulatory agencies.

Human Trafficking Committee

Jordan Greenbaum

The Human Trafficking Committee maintains a resource on this subject within the Society's web site. Please select Human Trafficking (login required) to view this resource.

Membership Committee

John Melville

The committee votes on Regular (Full) membership and Scholar membership to the Helfer Society. The committee reviews applications and decides on membership after receiving input from the general membership.

Nominations Committee

Suzanne Starling 

This committee develops a list of candidates for electing the Executive Committee, every two years.

Research Committee

Kate Henry and Samantha Schilling 

Mission: To support research by Helfer members at all levels. Committee members will share in setting the agenda of the committee, though our priorities will include:

  1. Facilitating research collaboration between Helfer members.
  2. Improving opportunities for basic training in research methodology to Helfer member.
  3. Improving the ability of Helfer members, especially fellows, to obtain research funding.

Guidelines for Research Recruitment via Helfer Approved by Research Committee

Scholars Committee

Michelle Greene and Jennifer Sabo 

Mission: This committee will strive to support scholar members in their pursuit of their careers in Child Abuse Pediatrics. The committee will actively contribute to the priorities of the committee. Priorities include:

  • Planning and implementation of the Helfer Pre-Conference and Job Fair which is sponsored by the Scholar Committee.
  • Facilitating collaboration among Scholar members, including but not limited to mentoring, research, program development, and educational efforts.

Wellness and Mental Health Committee

Michael Baxter and Mandy O'Hara 

Mission: To advance the knowledge and expertise of Helfer members regarding the short and long-term impact of maltreatment on the well-being and mental health of children, their families and the professionals who provide care to them - including advances in research, education, treatment and public policy.


  1. To support Helfer members in developing policies and programs and thereby provide comprehensive services to maltreated children and their families that support wellbeing and mental health.
  2. Improve the patient care and other professional efforts of Helfer members regarding the well-being and mental health of child maltreatment victims, their families and the professionals who provide their care.
  3. Promote the well-being and mental health of Helferites by attending to the needs of members to address the dangers of burnout and vicarious traumatization as well as others stresses like illnesses, lawsuits, deaths of loved ones.
  4. Develop program submissions to the annual meetings that seek to fulfill the group's mission.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Child Fatality SIG

Michael Durfee and Randy Alexander 

International Helfer Members SIG

Gabi Otterman and Michelle Shouldice 

This Interest Group, which is not a committee, is leading activities of significant interest among Canadian, European, Australian and New Zealander physicians dedicated to the field of child maltreatment.

Legislative Advocacy SIG

Jim Crawford-Jakubiak

Prevention SIG

Nina Agrawal and Ann Lenane 


Dana Kaplan; Madhu Voddi; Gillian Hopgood; Kerri Weeks

This special interest group serves to support the challenges of Helfer members who operate as solo child abuse pediatricians (CAPs). Given the shortage of physicians within the field of child abuse pediatrics, the need for Solo CAPs will likely increase over time. Best practices, resources and collaboration all will be explored as a way to support Solo CAPs globally. A Solo CAP is any Helfer member that considers themselves as such.  We aim to maintain a broad definition to remain inclusive so that we can explore the various circumstances in which Solo CAPs practice.

Substance Abuse SIG

Stephanie Deutsch

Substance exposure negatively impacts infant and child health and is a risk factor for maltreatment. Children and families affected by substance exposure interface with child welfare systems disproportionately. Our SIG is established to further discussion and research around ensuring accurate identification of exposed infants and children, improving safety outcomes for children affected by substance exposure, to disseminate info around relevant legislation/policy related to substance exposed infants and children, and establish best practice for the evaluation of potential substance exposure.


National Child Abuse Coalition

Kathryn Wells

Helfer Committee and Special Interest Groups Defined

I.    Ad Hoc or Advisory Committee - Exists solely to consider a topic which requires extended study or deliberation. Formed with a specific mission/deliverable in mind, and with an estimated time period of existence.

a.    Expectations:

i.    Participation is by invitation of the EC.
ii.    Discuss, argue, or draft documents for consideration by another committee.
iii.    Dissolution upon submission of their report unless additional duties are assigned by the EC.
iv.    The bylaws limit the term of an ad hoc committee to 3 years unless extended by the EC.

b.    Privileges:

i.    Use of the society’s Zoom account for meetings.

II.    Special Interest Group – Allows members to meet on a particular topic of interest.

a.    Expectations:

i.    Any three members may form a SIG unless specifically vetoed by the EC.
ii.    SIG must accept any Helfer member in good standing.
iii.    Requires renewal each July on the request of 3 or more members.  One member must agree to communicate with the EC on behalf of the SIG.

b.    Privileges:

i.    Use of the society’s Zoom account for meetings.
ii.    May form a dedicated listserv.
iii.    May announce activities on the Helfer listserv.
iv.    Identification as a Helfer Society SIG on the Helfer website.
v.    May present a brief update at the Helfer business meeting if desired.

III.    Committee – Advance the work of the Helfer Society on a specific topic.

a.    Expectations:

i.    Committees may be created by the EC upon the request of 10 or more members, at least two of whom agree to serve as co-chairs.
ii.    Committees must accept any Helfer member in good standing.
iii.    Must submit a one-page report each July that details succession plan, prior year’s accomplishments, next year’s goals, and a roster of Helfer members (at least 10) who wish to remain on the Committee.

b.    Privileges:

i.    Use of the society’s Zoom account for meetings.
ii.    May form a dedicated listserv.
iii.    May announce activities on the Helfer listserv.
iv.    Identification as a Helfer Society Committee on the Helfer website.
v.    May present a brief update at the Helfer business meeting.
vi.    May apply annually to the EC for grants to support the work of the Committee.
vii.    May prepare publications directed toward Helfer members for review and approval by the EC.
viii.    May have a meeting, with a designated room and time, at the annual meeting.

IV.    Standing Committee – Created by the EC to accomplish specific, recurring tasks supporting the mission of the society.

a.    Expectations:

i.    Standing Committees are formed at the direction of the EC.
ii.    Chair will be selected by the EC.
iii.    The Chair is responsible for recruiting and appointing at least two additional members.
iv.    When the president or vice president of the society attend a committee meeting, each will attend as a voting member.

b.    Privileges – Privileges of Standing Committees are the same as Committees, plus additional privileges related to the specifics of the Committee’s work.