On Oct. 3, Vanderbilt University Professor Velma McBride Murry will deliver the 22nd annual Bennett Lecture in Prevention Science, hosted by the Penn State College of Health and Human Development’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Murry will discuss positive outcomes from two family-centered preventive intervention programs, Strong African American Families (SAAF) and Pathways for African American Success (PAAS).
The public is invited to attend Murry’s lecture, “Enhancing Family and Youth Personal Protection: Navigating Toxic Waters through Intervention Effects of SAAF and PAAS Family-Centered Preventive Intervention Programs.” It will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. at 132 Flex Theater in the HUB-Robeson Center, with a question-and-answer session and reception following. The event is free and no registration is required.
Through more than two decades of research, Murry has identified protective factors that deter emotional problems and risk engagement in youth. The SAAF and PAAS programs — which Murry designed and tested — have demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness in enhancing parenting and family processes as well as youths’ personal intrapersonal protective factors, including positive racial identity, resistance efficacy, future orientation and prosocial peer affiliation. According to Murry, these program-induced changes have had long-term effects in decreasing early sexual onset, initiation and escalation of alcohol and drug use, and conduct problems, with spillover effects on other developmental outcomes.
“For example, both programs have demonstrated protection against disparities in depression and behavioral health outcomes associated with racial discrimination,” Murry said.
Murry’s goal is to disseminate SAAF and PAAS for use in community-based organization settings, as well as in schools, primary health care, and faith-based organizations in order to examine the programs’ efficacy and effectiveness in real-world settings.
At Vanderbilt University, Murry holds the Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair and is a University Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Health Policy in the medical school and of Human and Organizational Development in Peabody College. She is co-director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Institute of Medicine and Public Health, Health Equity Research Program. She is also appointed to the National Advisory Mental Health Council, and she has been actively engaged in several initiatives of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Murry is past president of Society for Research on Adolescence and also served as chair of the American Psychological Association Committee on Psychology and AIDS.
The Bennett Lecture in Prevention Science is an annual event hosted by the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center that honors global leaders in prevention research. The lectureship is made possible through an endowment given by Edna Bennett Pierce, a 1953 Penn State graduate of the College of Health and Human Development.