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Isaac Ray Research Program in Behavioral Sciences & the Law

The Isaac Ray Research Program champions multidisciplinary research at the intersection of human behavior and legal systems in order to develop evidence-based interventions, improve public policy and advance justice.

The program is made possible by a charitable endowment from James L. Cavanaugh, Jr., MD, who founded the Isaac Ray Center in 1979 and is an expert in the field of forensic psychiatry.

The program's current research goals are to:

  • Investigate health needs of traditionally underserved populations such as racial/ethnic minorities, impoverished persons, the homeless and incarcerated populations
  • Examine the bio-psycho-social determinants of violence and antisocial behavior in order to inform empirically supported community interventions
  • Understand the psychiatric, neurological and neuropsychological abnormalities that may lead to violent aggression and murder
  • Describe the nature and extent of criminal charges women face for child harm occurring during pregnancy-related psychiatric illness
  • Understand and recognize pregnancy denial and reduce the risk of neonaticide
  • Evaluate the consistency of child custody evaluations conducted in urban courts and ensure they meet established standards and guidelines
  • Enhance the knowledge and utilization of legally relevant mental health information in juvenile justice and child protection proceedings

Recent Publications


To make a gift in honor of James L. Cavanaugh, MD, and to support this research, please contact Andrew P. Christopherson at 312-503-3080 or

Contact Us

Interim Director 

Michael Brook, PhD


Karen Abram, PhD
Cara Angelotta, MD
Stephen H. Dinwiddie, MD
Robert E. Hanlon, PhD
Barbara A. Kahn, JD
Phillip C. O’Donnell, MJ PhD
Andrew Papachristos, PhD
Linda A. Teplin, PhD
Jason J. Washburn, PhD

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