Nicole Fava

Nicole Fava


• Postdoctoral Fellow, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

• PhD, Social Welfare, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

• MSW, Social Work, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

• AB, Psychology & English (minor in Women’s Studies), Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

Research Interests

Dr. Nicole Fava’s program of research bridges the child maltreatment and sexuality fields from a developmental, trauma-informed, resilience-based framework in order to highlight the importance of protective factors across various environmental contexts to support wellbeing and sexual health among those who have experienced trauma and/or childhood maltreatment. This is in opposition to the more traditional risk-framework that has dominated both fields, and serves to inform others of the strength and personal agency of vulnerable populations. Dr. Fava is especially interested in conducting participant-centered, community-based research examining individual, peer/romantic partner, family and community level factors impacting healthy development in order to inform effective and holistic interventions for youth and families.

Fava has a strong interdisciplinary background of training in research approaches, methods, and design, as well as training in trauma-specific interventions and holistic evidence-based intervention models such as trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and meditation. She has experience conducting sophisticated mixed-methods and quantitative research, developing person-centered data collection methodologies (e.g., life history calendar approaches), and implementing these within diverse milieus, making it possible to understand the complex interplay between positive and negative factors that influence the meaning individuals make from their traumatic experiences and their health and functioning.

Dr. Fava joined FIU Stempel College and the Center for Children and Families in 2015. She earned her Ph.D. from the School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, New York.

Select publications

Fava, N.M., Munro, M.L., Felicetti, I.L., Darling-Fisher, C.S., Pardee, M., Helman, A., Trucco, E.M., & Martyn, K.K. Lessons learned from using a patient-centered participatory research approach in three health clinics. Western Journal of Nursing Research. doi: 10.1177/0193945916654665

Fava, N.M., Simon, V.A., Smith, E.P., Khan, M., Kovacevic, M., Rosenblum, K.L., Menke, R. & Muzik, M. Perceptions of General and Parenting-Specific Posttraumatic Change among Postpartum Mothers with Histories of Childhood Maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect,56, 20-29.

Munro, M. L., Fava, N. M., Saftner, M. A., Darling-Fisher, C. S., Tate, N. H., Stoddard, S. A., & Martyn, K.M. (2016). What are we missing? Risk behaviors among Arab-American adolescents and emerging adults. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12352

Simon, V.A., Smith, E., Fava, N.M., Barton, S. Cassanova, T., & Feiring, C (2015). Posttraumatic change following childhood sexual abuse: Youths’ perceptions of positive and negative changes are associated with psychosocial adjustment. Child Maltreatment, online ahead of print.

Munro, M.L., Martyn, K.M., Fava, N.M., & Helman, A. (2014). Inter-rater reliability of the Measure of Patient-Centered Communication in health promotion clinic visits with youth. International Journal of Communication and Health, 3, link to study

Bay-Cheng, L.Y. & Fava, N.M. (2014). What puts “At-Risk Girls” at risk? Sexual vulnerability and social inequality in the lives of girls in the child welfare system. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11, 116-125. doi: 10.1007/s13178-013-0142-5

Martyn, K. K., Munro, M. L., Darling-Fisher, C. S., Ronis, D. L., Villarruel, A. M., Pardee, M., Faleer, H., & Fava, N. M. (2013). Patient-centered communication and health assessment with youth. Nursing Research, 62(6), 383-393. doi:10.1097/NNR.0000000000000005. PMID: 24165214.

Bay-Cheng, L. Y., Livingston, J. A., & Fava, N. M. (2013). “Not always a clear path”: Making space for peers, adults, and complexity in adolescent girls’ sexual development. In E. L. Zurbriggen & T. Roberts (Eds.), The sexualization of girls and girlhood: Causes, consequences, & resistance (pp. 257-277). New York: Oxford University Press.

Fava, N.M. & Bay-Cheng, L.Y. (2013). Trauma-informed sexuality education: Recognizing the rights and resilience of youth, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 13(4), doi:10.1080/14681811.2012.745808.

Fava, N.M. & Bay-Cheng, L.Y. (2012). Young women's adolescent experiences of oral sex: Relation of age of initiation to sexual motivation, sexual coercion, and psychological well-being, Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1191-1201.

Bay-Cheng, L.Y. & Fava, N.M. (2011). Young women’s experiences and perceptions of cunnilingus during adolescence. Journal of Sex Research, 48, 1-12.

Bay-Cheng, L. Y., Livingston, J. A., & Fava, N.M. (2011). Adolescent girls’ assessment and management of sexual risks: Insights from focus group research. Youth & Society, 43(3), 1167–1193.