Kristie Thomas

Associate Professor and MSW Director
  • School of Social Work
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(617) 521-3935

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  • Ph.D. (Social Welfare), University of Pennsylvania
  • M.S.W. (Macro Practice), University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Psychology and Sociology, St. Joseph’s University

About Me

Kristie A. Thomas, PhD, MSW, is an Associate Professor at Simmons University School of Social Work. Dr. Thomas has extensive practice, teaching, and research expertise in the field of anti-violence. Her work is focused on developing solutions to improve outcomes for people affected by intimate partner violence – particularly those who are economically and socially marginalized. In addition to many peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Thomas has authored online trainings, toolkits, and validated measures that are used widely by researchers and practitioners across the country. She is a recipient of the National Institute of Health's, Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program, a highly competitive award that supports the research of health professionals.

Dr. Thomas teaches at the master and doctoral level in the School of Social Work, mentors Ph.D. students in their dissertation work, and provides graduate students with research opportunities on her many current projects. Additional teaching interests include program evaluation, community organizing and development, and public health frameworks. Dr. Thomas is deeply dedicated to teaching, explaining that, "I will be forever indebted to my professors at the University of Pennsylvania; their wisdom, expertise, and constant quest for excellence and innovation – within themselves and among their students – continue to inform my research and teaching. My goal is to offer the same quality of training to my own students." In 2017, Dr. Thomas was awarded the Provost Award for Student-Centeredness in Graduate Teaching at Simmons University.

Dr. Thomas serves the community and profession locally and nationally. In 2011, she co-founded the New England-based Domestic Violence Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (DVPERC), which is comprised of over a dozen domestic violence programs and a handful of researchers spanning social work, psychology, and medicine. One of DVPERC's many projects led to the development of MOVERS (the Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety), a validated outcome measure that has been adopted widely for research and evaluation purposes.

Prior to joining the Simmons faculty, Dr. Thomas served as assistant director of the Ortner Center on Violence & Abuse in Relationships at the University of Pennsylvania and a research consultant for the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women. She received her MSW and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

Download Kristie Thomas' Curriculum Vitae

What I Teach

Simmons University, School of Social Work, Boston, MA

On-ground Platform

  • SW441 Research Methods (MSW required course)
  • SW482 Domestic Violence and Family Welfare (clinical elective)
  • SW509 Evaluation in Social Work Practice (MSW required course)
  • SW598 Leadership Development in Anti-Violence Work: The Susan Schechter Social Action Seminar (MSW elective course)
  • SW 610 Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Human Behavior, Development, and Change (PhD required course)

Online Platform

  • SW509 Evaluation in Social Work Practice (MSW required course)
  • Course Designer and Course Lead

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA

  • SBS222: Social Services for Children, Adolescents and Families (2014-2017)

Research/Creative Activities

Dr. Thomas conducts applied, community-based, and interdisciplinary research on the topic of intimate partner violence. She is currently working on a research study funded by the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network that focuses on Responsible Fatherhood Groups as a vehicle for domestic violence education and prevention. In addition, Dr. Thomas is also one of the lead evaluators for SASH (Survivors Achieving Stable Housing), an innovative, community based, pilot project for homeless and unstably housed survivors of intimate partner violence. Other recent collaborative research projects include the development of an online training for practitioners who work with people affected by intimate partner violence, and an online toolkit for emerging researchers on conducting community-based participatory research with members of the domestic violence community.

Recent grant funding

  • 2018-2019 - Principal Investigator, Center for Policy Research, Fatherhood and Research Practice Network. Responsible Fatherhood Groups and domestic violence education: An exploratory study of current practices, barriers, and opportunities. $25,409.
  • 2016-2018 - Co-Investigator (PI: Lisa Goodman), National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Bringing community based participatory research to domestic violence research: An online toolkit for emerging researchers. $26,110.
  • 2015-2016 - Principal Investigator, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Title: Engaging low-income fathers in intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention: An exploratory study. $2,000.
  • 2013-2016 - Co-Lead Researcher (with Lisa Goodman, PhD, and Principal Investigator Curt Rogers, Executive Director, GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project). Family Violence Prevention and Services Discretionary Grant. Title: Identifying, Implementing and Evaluating a GLBTQ Specific Trauma-Informed Domestic Violence Service Model. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-EV-0635). $400,000.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

*Indicates author was a graduate student at time of writing

Ragavan, M., Thomas, K. A., Fulambarker, A., Zaricor, J.*, Goodman, L. A., & Bair-Merritt-M. (in press). Exploring the needs and lived experiences of racial and ethnic minority domestic violence survivors through community-based participatory research: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.

Thomas, K. A., Goodman, L. A., Barkai, R., Collins-Gousby, D., Heimel, D., & Schon-Vainer, E. (2018). Conducting ongoing and regionally focused community-based participatory research: The story of the Domestic Violence Program Evaluation Research Collaborative (DVPERC). Journal of Family Violence, 33(8) 537-549. DOI: 10.1007/s10896-018-9978-z

Thomas, K. A., Mederos, F., & Rodriguez, G.* (2018). "It shakes you for the rest of your life": An exploratory study of low-income fathers' understanding of domestic violence and its impact on children. Psychology of Violence. Online First Publication, May 21, 2018. DOI: 10.1037/vio0000196

Brewer, N.Q.* Thomas, K.A., & Higdon, J. (2018). Intimate partner violence, sexuality, and academic performance among a national sample of undergraduates. Journal of American College Health. Online First Publication, May 22, 2018. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1454929

Messing, J. T., Thomas, K. A., Ward-Lasher, A.,* Brewer, N. Q.* (2018). Intimate partner violence strangulation among same-sex couples. Journal of Intimate Partner Violence. Online First Publication, March 23, 2018. DOI: 10.1177/0886260518757223

Ragavan, M., Thomas, K. A., Medzhitova, J.,* Brewer, N. Q.*, Goodman, L. A., & Bair-Merritt-M. (2018). A systematic review of community-based participatory research interventions for domestic violence survivors. Psychology of Violence. Online First Publication, February 19, 2018. DOI: 10.1037/vio0000183

Dichter, M. E., Thomas, K. A., Crist-Christoph, P. Ogden, S. & Rhodes, K. V. (2018). Coercive control in intimate partner violence: Relationship with women's experience of violence, use of violence, and danger. Psychology of Violence, 8, 596-604. DOI: 10.1037/vio0000158.

Goodman, L., Thomas, K. A., Nnawulezi, N., Lippy, C., Serrata, J. V., Ghanbarpour, S., Sullivan, C., & Bair-Merritt, M. H. (2018). Bringing community based participatory research to intimate domestic violence research: An online toolkit. Journal of Family Violence, 33, 103-107. DOI: 10.1007/s10896-017-9944-1.

Brewer, N. Q.* & Thomas, K. A., (2018). LGBTQ intimate partner violence. In Oxford Bibliographies in Criminology, (Ed. Beth M. Huebner). New York: Oxford University Press.

Sattler, L.,* Thomas, K. A. & Cadet, T. L., (2016). Reactive protection?: Fear, victimization, and school violence among U.S. high school students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Published online ahead of print 10/30/2016. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516672054

Sattler, L.,* & Thomas, K. A. (2016) "Parents need a village": Caseworkers' perceptions of the challenges faced by single parents of system-involved youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 70, 293–301 DOI:

Thomas, K. A., Sorenson, S. B., & Joshi, M. (2016). "Consent is good, joyous, sexy": A banner campaign to market consent to college students. Journal of American College Health, 64(8), 639-650. DOI:10.1080/07448481.2016.1217869

Thomas, K. A., So, M.* (2016). Lost in limbo: An exploratory study of the homeless mothers' experiences and needs at emergency assistance hotels. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 97(2), 120–131.
- This article was cited as supporting evidence in a 2018 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Case (No. SJC-12507)

Goodman, L., A. Thomas, K. A., Cattaneo, L. B., Heimel, D. Woulfe, J.,* & Chong, S. K.* (2016). Survivor-defined practice in domestic violence work: Measure development and preliminary evidence of link to empowerment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(1), 163-185.

Thomas, K. A., Goodman, L., A. & Putnins, S.* (2015). "I have lost everything:" Trade-offs of seeking safety from intimate partner violence. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85, 170-180.

Goodman, L., A. Cattaneo, L. B., Thomas, K. A., Woulfe, J.,* Chong, S. K.* & Smyth, K. F. (2015). Enhancing survivors' wellbeing through program evaluation: The Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS). Psychology of Violence, 5, 355-366.

Thomas, K. A. & Marks, L.* (2014). Action!: Video-making in social work education. Journal
of Technology in Human Services, 32, 254-274.

Thomas, K. A., Joshi, M., & Sorenson, S. B. (2014). "Do you know what it feels like to drown?": Strangulation as a tactic of coercive control in intimate relationships. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38, 124-137.

Joshi, M., Thomas, K. A., & Sorenson, S. B. (2013). Domestic violence and international students: An exploratory study of the practices and role of U.S. University International Offices. Journal of College Student Development, 5, 527-533.

Joshi, M., Thomas, K. A., & Sorenson, S. B. (2012). "I didn't know I could turn colors": Health problems and health care experiences reported by women who were strangled by an intimate partner, Social Work in Health Care, 51, 798–814.

Thomas, K. A., Dichter, M. E., & Matejkowski, J. (2011). Intimate vs. non-intimate partner murder: A comparison of offender and situational characteristics. Homicide Studies, 15, 291-311.

Thomas, K. A., Sorenson, S. B., & Joshi, M. (2010). Police-documented incidents of intimate partner violence among young women. Journal of Women's Health, 19,1079-1087.

Sorenson, S. B. & Thomas, K. A. (2009). Views of intimate partner violence in same-
and opposite-sex relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 337-352.

Thomas, K. A., Joshi, M., Wittenberg, E. & McCloskey, L. A. (2008). Intersections of harm
and health: A qualitative study of intimate partner violence in women's lives. Violence Against Women, 14, 1252-1273.

Wittenberg, E., Joshi, M., Thomas, K. A., & McCloskey, L. A. (2007). Measuring the
health-related quality of life of intimate partner violence: An analysis of focus group data describing the domains of life affected. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5, 67.

Other Publications

Thomas, K. A., Chadwick, M., Devereaux, D., Melbin, A., Miller, E. E., Yu, L., Zaricor, J.* & Hubert, S. (2017). Simmons School of Social Work Domestic Violence Training (3rd edition). Available at

Goodman, L., Thomas, K. A., Serrata, J. V., Lippy, C., Nnawulezi, N., Ghanbarpour, S., Macy, R. J., Sullivan, C., & Bair-Merritt, M. (2017). Bringing community based participatory research to domestic violence research: An online toolkit for emerging researchers. Available at

Miller, E. C., Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K. A, Peterson, A.,* Scheer, J.,* Woulfe, J.,* & Warshaw, C. (2016, June). Trauma-informed approaches for LGBQT* survivors of intimate partner violence: A review of the literature and a set of practice-based observations. Boston, MA: GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project.

Goodman, L.A., Thomas, K.A, & Heimel, D. (2015). A guide for using the Measure of Victim
Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS). Available at: