Director of Research and Evaluation, RCCP
35 Thornwood Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850
Ithaca, New York
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research


Deborah Sellers serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) in the Bonfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR).  In this position she facilitates research and evaluation activities throughout RCCP by helping projects teams identify new avenues for research, guiding and assisting the project teams with the design of research and/or evaluation efforts, supporting the development of new proposals by writing methods and other sections as needed, monitoring and/or assisting with data collection, processing, and analysis issues that may arise, and assisting with writing manuscripts for publication. Dr. Sellers also oversees the data collection efforts associated with RCCP's Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) programs.  Before coming to BCTR in 2012, Dr. Sellers was the Director of Research and Development in the Center for Applied Ethics at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton Massachusetts.

Dr. Sellers has extensive experience in research and evaluation design, the design and implementation of survey research, and the analysis of quantitative data as well as data collection, processing, and analysis in substantive areas ranging from chronic illness to end-of-life care to organ donation to adult and adolescent health promotion. Dr. Sellers has designed and directed both intervention and observational studies.  The intervention studies include an group randomized waitlist trial of the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools program, a national multi-center evaluation of a community education project to reduce pre-hospital delay among persons experiencing heart attack symptoms as well as interventions to improve cancer pain management and to identify potential organ donors and support of their families.  The observational studies Dr. Sellers has directed include an 11 wave longitudinal study of the quality of life and end-of-life decision-making of 300 adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) from 10 CF Centers across the country and a study of end-of-life care in pediatric intnsive care units. Dr. Sellers also participated in two studies of the views of research participants, patients, and clinicians about the sharing of genetic information when the information has implications for the care of the participant or the patients’ family and a study of the role of principal investigators of multi-center randomized clinicial trials.

Dr. Sellers graduated from Reed College in 1983 and completed a doctorate in Sociology with a specialization in research methods at the University of Massachusetts-Amerst in 1992 as well as an MS in biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1993.

Group randomized waitlist trial evaluating the impact of the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools (TCI-S) in 19 elementary and K8 schools

Threshold concepts in the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) program

The role of adult-young person relationships in supporting feelings of safety among young people in residential care.

Systematic review assessing the evidence for the effectiveness of combining direct nutrition education with changes to food and/or physical activity policies, systems, and environments (PSEs) compared to either of these strategies alone on weight status and food and nutrition behaviors related to obesity prevention

Izzo CV, Smith EG, Holden MJ, Norton CI, Nunno MA, Sellers DE (2016). Intervening at the Setting Level to Prevent Behavioral Incidents in Residential Child Care: Efficacy of the CARE Program Model. Prevention Science 17:554-564.

Hamilton MA, Hamilton SF, Dubois DL, and Sellers DE (2016) Functional Roles of Important Nonfamily Adults for Youth. Journal of Community Psychology 44(6):799-806.

Nunno MA, Sellers DE, Holden MJ. (2014) Implications of Translational Research for the Field of Residential Child Care. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care. 13(3)

Burns JP, Sellers DE, Meyer EC, Lewis-Newby M, Truog RD. (2014) Epidemiology of Death in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Five U.S. Teaching Hospitals. Critical Care Medicine 42(9):2101-8.

Sawicki G, Sellers DE, Robinson WM  (2008) High Treatment Burden in adults with cystic fibrosis: challenges to disease self-management. Journal Cystic Fibrosis, 8(2):91-6.

Sellers, DE, Bullock K, Crawford S, McKinlay JB. (1997) Understanding the variability in the effectiveness of community heart health programs: a meta-analysis. Social Science and Medicine 44(9):1325-1329.

Sellers, DE, McGraw SA, McKinlay JB (1994). Does the Promotion and Distribution of Condoms Increase Teen Sexual Activity? Evidence from an HIV Prevention Program for Latino Youth. American Journal of Public Health 84(12): 1952-1959.

Dr. Sellers is a member of the national Building Bridges Initiative workgroup on outcomes and the Research Committee of the Association of Children's Residential Centers.

M.S. Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA Biostatistics, 1993

Ph.D. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA Sociology, 1992

M.A. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA Sociology, 1987

B.A. Reed College, Portland, Oregon Sociology, 1983