Virginia Burks Salzer, PhD | PCOM Faculty
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Co-Director of Research, School Psychology
Director, PhD in Educational Psychology

After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Salzer joined the faculty at Vanderbilt where she remained until 1998. At that time, she accepted an appointment at the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where she embarked on a longitudinal, multi-site study of the impact of parental treatment for depression on the development of childhood psychopathology. In addition, she has received federal grant funding to examine the impact of the treatment of childhood anxiety on parent-child interactions. This study focuses on the impact of symptom reduction via psychopharmacological interventions and whether or not changes in children's expression of anxious symptoms elicits alternative parenting styles.

Dr. Salzer joined the core faculty at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in the summer of 2004. She serves as the vice chairperson of the Institutional Review Board and teaches courses in developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology and dissertation research development. Most of the doctoral candidates for whom she serves as committee chairperson have focused their research on the examination of parent-child relationships in families in which either the parent and/or the child are currently experiencing some form of psychopathology. In particular, the students are examining how parents model and reinforce various forms of psychopathology, with a long-term goal of adopting intervention programs aimed at altering the environments in which children are exposed to aberrant parenting styles.

In addition to her work at PCOM, Dr. Salzer serves as a scientific reviewer for National Institutes of Health grant funding programs and as an ad hoc reviewer for Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Social Development, and Family Psychology.


Dr. Salzer is a graduate of the developmental psychology program at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing her PhD in 1991, Dr. Salzer began her post-doctoral fellowship in developmental psychopathology at Vanderbilt University with Dr. Ken Dodge. As a graduate student, her primary area of research focused on parent-child relationships in families with aggressive and socially rejected children. While at Vanderbilt University, she adopted a social-information processing model and expanded her area of interests to include the examination of children's internal social cognitive models and their impact on childhood aggression.