The College of Health and Human Development has announced that Max Crowley, professor of human development and family studies and public policy, has been appointed director of Penn State’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center (PRC), beginning Aug. 15. Crowley succeeds Stephanie Lanza, professor of biobehavioral health, who has served in that role since 2017.
Crowley is a prevention scientist nationally known for his work studying how to bridge research and policy. He is the director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative, which seeks to transform the use of research evidence in decision-making through collaborations between practitioners, researchers and policymaker communities.
He has previously served on the board of directors for the Society for Prevention Research, the National Prevention Science Coalition, and the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice. Crowley co-chaired the Society for Prevention Research’s Mapping Advances in Prevention Science Committee on Economic Analyses of Prevention, leading the development of international standards for the economic evaluation of preventive interventions.
“I am deeply honored to take on this role and am profoundly grateful for the leadership of Stephanie Lanza and Greg Fosco,” said Crowley. “Their tireless efforts have shaped the center’s success and growth of the PRC for more than half a decade. I look forward to building upon this strong foundation and working collaboratively to continue the center’s legacy of innovation and impact.”
Lanza, in close collaboration with PRC Associate Director Gregory Fosco, professor of human development and family studies, was devoted to building a research community focused on the shared values of integrity, curiosity, passion and impact. Under their leadership, the PRC has expanded in scholarship, service, and training the next generation of scientists. Research that broadened under their leadership includes programs to promote human flourishing, research using intensive longitudinal methods to address substance use and addiction, and long-term effects of intervention programs administered during adolescence.
Lanza and Fosco initiated an impactful program to support research focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion by awarding 15 grants to early career researchers at Penn State. The long-standing Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) T32 program, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also was successfully renewed under their leadership, training more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to date through the program.
“We are confident that under Crowley’s leadership, the PRC’s success and impact on families, communities and policymakers will continue to grow. Given his training in prevention science, long-standing record of service to the Society for Prevention Research, and innovative and growing program of research, he is well-suited to steer the PRC into its next chapter,” said Lanza.
Craig Newschaffer, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development, said, “The PRC has been at the forefront of prevention science for 25 years. The center has made numerous impactful contributions to the body of evidence that now informs programs deployed globally that promote the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The college is extremely grateful for the leadership that Stephanie Lanza and Greg Fosco have provided and the advances in prevention science that they have enabled. In Max Crowley, we are confident that we have a leader for the center who will continue its traditions of collaborative science and research excellence and will position the center at the forefront of the field as it enters its next chapter of transforming prevention science and practice.”
At Penn State, Crowley founded the Administrative Data Accelerator in 2016 and the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative, a partnership between the College of Health and Human Development and the Social Science Research Institute, in 2020. For his work, Crowley received the Society for Prevention Research’s Early Career Prevention Scientist’s Award and Public Service Award, Society for Community Research and Action Public Policy Award, and the NPSC Systemwide Prevention in Congress Award.
“This is an exciting time for the field of prevention science. New technologies and methods are allowing for unprecedented study of how to invest in healthy development — informing etiology, intervention and implementation alike,” said Crowley. “We know more than ever about how to support the use of scientific evidence by decision-makers in the practice and policy communities, in large part because of the PRC’s leadership over the last 25 years. There’s no better center to be at the forefront of these new initiatives than the Prevention Research Center at Penn State, which has an international reputation of highly rigorous science and for producing some of the best thought leaders in the field.”
Crowley has a long connection with the PRC, having previously been a trainee under the center’s founding director, Mark Greenberg. Before his return to Penn State as a faculty member, Crowley worked at the Duke University’s Center for Child & Family Policy, remaining a PRC affiliate. As a Penn State faculty member, he led several projects through the PRC supported by federal funders at the National Institutes of Health; National Science Foundation, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and philanthropies such as the WT Grant, Kauffman, Laura and John Arnold, Doris Duke, Chan Zuckerberg, and Kellogg foundations.