Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D.

Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 671
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-6626
Fax: (585) 276-2701

Professional Bio

Dr. Davidson is the Director (and Division Chief) of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD); a federally-funded center for interdisciplinary training, demonstration services, research and technical assistance in developmental disabilities. Each year about 70 graduate and post-graduate trainees spend from 8 to over 500 hours in preclinical didactic, and clinical and research practica in developmental disabilities. Trainees represent eleven clinical disciplines including: Medicine, Gerontology, Psychology, Social Work, Special Education, Speech Pathology, Nursing, Pedodontics, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Psychiatry. Some trainees are drawn from departments and schools of the University of Rochester and others from SCDD's affiliated institutions of higher learning or from the community. Extramurally funded degree and certificate programs have been developed with the Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Funded fellowship programs have been established in Pediatrics, Psychology, and Physical Therapy. A funded program on aging and developmental disabilities was established by SCDD and the Center on Aging.

Dr. Davidson has served as the major supervisor for 19 postdoctoral fellows in pediatric psychology and predoctoral fellows in clinical psychology and three research fellows. He periodically serves as a member of PhD dissertation committees in the Department of Clinical and Social Psychology, and MA thesis committees in the School of Nursing. He has directed psychology master's theses at SUNY Brockport and at SUNY Geneseo.

Research Bio

Dr. Davidson's major research interests include: Aging and Developmental Disabilities; Behavior Disorders; and Neurotoxicants and Development.

Philip W. Davidson, PhD is working with Gary Myers, MD, to study the effects of transplacentally transmitted methylmercury (MeHg) on child development. Ocean and lake fish ingest methylated Hg++ and store it in fatty tissue. Humans ingesting fish through dietary intake, therefore, are exposed to MeHg, known to be a CNS toxin and a teratogen. Eating only a few meals of fish per month may raise MeHg to levels that exceed the WHO standard. Recent studies have indicated that low-dose exposure may present a toxic stimulus in utero and affect the development of those offspring of mothers who eat fish during pregnancy. The study is focused on developmental outcomes in older cohort of children and young adults prenatally exposed to MeHg in the Republic of Seychelles.

Dr. Davidson is also studying the characteristics of persons with developmental disabilities. Little is known about the health outcomes as persons with developmental disabilities age. Dr. Davidson is working with an international team with investigators on a project to ascertain health status amoung cohorts of older adults and elderly adults. Between 10%-30% of persons with developmental disabilities are believed to have psychiatric disorders. Among the most contentious of these so-called dual diagnoses is the coincidence of mental retardation and aggressive or assaultive behavior. This cohort of individuals is rarely able to live in community settings and often must live and work in overly restrictive environments.

Awards & Honors (National)

Daniel J. Ziegler Distinguished Alumnus Award | Department of Psychology, Villanova University 2010
Graduate Alumni Medallion | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova University 2010
American Psychological Association Leadership Award | Division on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 2002

Awards & Honors (Local)

Faculty Service Award | Department of Pediatrics 1992 - 1993

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 128 available »

2013 Jul 28
Strain JJ, McSorley EM, van Wijngaarden E, Kobrosly RW, Bonham MP, Mulhern MS, McAfee AJ, Davidson PW, Shamlaye CF, Henderson J, Watson GE, Thurston SW, Wallace JM, Ueland PM, Myers GJ. "Choline status and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years of age in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study." The British journal of nutrition. 2013 Jul 28; 110(2):330-6. Epub 2013 Jan 09.
2013 May
Nkhoma OW, Duffy ME, Davidson PW, Cory-Slechta DA, McSorley EM, Strain JJ, O'Brien GM. "Nutritional and cognitive status of entry-level primary school children in Zomba, rural Malawi." International journal of food sciences and nutrition. 2013 May; 64(3):282-91. Epub 2012 Nov 23.
Watson GE, van Wijngaarden E, Love TM, McSorley EM, Bonham MP, Mulhern MS, Yeates AJ, Davidson PW, Shamlaye CF, Strain JJ, Thurston SW, Harrington D, Zareba G, Wallace JM, Myers GJ. "Neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years in children exposed prenatally to maternal dental amalgam: the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study." Neurotoxicology and teratology. 2013 39:57-62. Epub 2013 Jul 13.
2012 Nov
Strain JJ, Davidson PW, Thurston SW, Harrington D, Mulhern MS, McAfee AJ, van Wijngaarden E, Shamlaye CF, Henderson J, Watson GE, Zareba G, Cory-Slechta DA, Lynch M, Wallace JM, McSorley EM, Bonham MP, Stokes-Riner A, Sloane-Reeves J, Janciuras J, Wong R, Clarkson TW, Myers GJ. "Maternal PUFA status but not prenatal methylmercury exposure is associated with children's language functions at age five years in the Seychelles." The Journal of nutrition. 2012 Nov; 142(11):1943-9. Epub 2012 Sep 26.
2012 Sep
McAfee AJ, Mulhern MS, McSorley EM, Wallace JM, Bonham MP, Faure J, Romain S, Esther C, Shamlaye CF, Watson GE, Myers GJ, Clarkson TW, Davidson PW, Strain J. "Intakes and adequacy of potentially important nutrients for cognitive development among 5-year-old children in the Seychelles Child Development and Nutrition Study." Public health nutrition. 2012 Sep; 15(9):1670-7. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Current Appointments

Professor Emeritus - Department of Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Psychology | George Washington University1970
MS | Psychology | Villanova University1968
BA | Psychology | Bucknell University1963

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Clinical Child Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division for Disorders of Development and Learning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 1974