Original Release Date: November 12, 2021
In episode four of our Workforce Resiliency mini season, Just Science sat down with Donia Slack, the Director of the Research, Technology, and Evaluation Program in RTI’s Center for Forensic Sciences, to discuss the literature gaps within resiliency and vicarious trauma research.
Discussions on how post-traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout can affect first responders and justice practitioners have increased over the years, but research gaps remain on the level of stress forensic scientists experience. Listen along as Donia Slack discusses the literature on stress, her upcoming doctoral research, and strategies to bolster workforce resiliency for forensic scientists in this episode of Just Science.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
- Trauma and coping mechanisms exhibited by forensic science practitioners: A literature review
- Webinar Series: Forensic Workforce Resiliency: Vicarious Trauma & Workplace Stress
- Webinar Series: ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness
- Podcast Episode: Just Building Workforce Resiliency
- Podcast Episode: Just Being Vocal About Vicarious Trauma
- ASCLD Report: Trauma and Stress in the Field of Forensic Science
- ASCLD Report: Management Detection and Mitigation of Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Burnout in Forensic Practitioners
- The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
Donia Slack is the Director of the Research, Technology, and Evaluation Program (RT&E) in RTI’s Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS). In this role, Ms. Slack leads technology-driven efforts in support of basic and applied research serving the criminal justice and forensic science communities. She maintains a PMP certification and has a Master of Science degree with over 17 years of experience in the forensic DNA community, directing and overseeing programs pertaining to genomic analyses of human, plant, and microbial DNA. Ms. Slack has more than 12 years of executive program management experience directing complex research and operational efforts serving the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the intelligence community, and she has provided contractual and programmatic oversight of cooperative agreements, grants, contracts, and subcontracts. Before joining RTI, Ms. Slack was the Director of the U.S. Government Research and Development division at Bode Technology, the country’s largest private forensic DNA company. While at Bode Technology, Ms. Slack worked on the extraction and analysis of degraded human remains from the World Trade Center Attack of 9/11. Ms. Slack has supported human identification programs not only through operational management and laboratory support, but through the development of novel DNA technologies such as massively parallel sequencing (MPS) for complex mixture deconvolution and inferences of phenotype and ancestry from samples of unknown origin. Ms. Slack currently serves as the Executive Program Manager of the National Missing and Unidentified Missing Persons (NamUs), a national clearinghouse funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which offers critical investigation support and free forensic services to facilitate the resolution of missing and unidentified persons cases nationwide. View RTI Profile.
The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenters(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Please contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org for any questions.
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