Chair of Public Health Sciences Elected Member of New National Research Council Forum

José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and Chair of Public Health Sciences, has been appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to the National Research Council Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Health.

The newly established forum aims to connect the prevention, treatment and implementation sciences with settings where children receive care, including healthcare facilities, schools, social service and child welfare agencies, the juvenile justice system and other community-based organizations. The forum will develop effective and affordable systems that address children’s needs in these settings.

“My interest has always been to study the cultural, social and physical context that influences children’s behaviors and development, and to do so in ways that are readily translatable to clinical improvements and community health,” said Szapocznik, who is also Director of the Center for Family Studies and the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). “As we move into the 21st Century, there is much we must do to improve the health of our children by transforming settings in which children are typically served in ways that promote their mental health, and behavioral and social adjustment.”

In his four-decade career, Szapocznik has pioneered internationally acclaimed family-based interventions, including Brief Strategic Family Therapy, an evidence-based intervention that is well-known for its success in reducing delinquency and drug use in adolescents. His commitment to interdisciplinarity and training the next generation of minority researchers led him to establish and become the founding Chair of the National Hispanic Science Network for Drug Abuse, which promotes interdisciplinary, translational research on drug abuse and training Hispanic scientists.

As Principal Investigator of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Florida Node Alliance, part of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, Szapocznik and his team are translating treatment research into clinical practice in drug abuse treatment and primary care settings. And as Principal Investigator of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, he is committed to creating opportunities that will expedite clinical and translational research for the benefit of Miami’s majority minority communities.

Szapocznik was the first behavioral scientist to be appointed to the NIH-wide AIDS Program Advisory Committee (now called the NIH Office of AIDS), and served on the National Advisory Councils of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

The highest NIH-funded investigator at the Miller School in 2013, the third best funded public health principal investigator at the NIH, and one of the top 100 funded scientists at the NIH of more than 36,000 principal investigators worldwide, Szapocznik will serve a two-year term as a member of the forum.

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