Velma McBride Murry, PhD is Lois Audrey Betts chair in education and human development and professor of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University. Murry has conducted research on rural African American parents and youth for over 15 years and identified proximal, malleable protective factors that deter youth risk engagement.
This work has advanced current knowledge of the impact of contextual factors, particularly racism, on African-American family functioning through the development of novel strength based family prevention interventions, including the Strong African American Families Program and more recently, the first technology, family-based prevention program, Pathways for African American Success. Both programs are designed to enhance parenting and family processes to in turn encourage youth to delay age at sexual onset and the initiation and escalation of alcohol and drug use. Murry has made key contributions to HIV risk prevention research and is highly committed to service and advocacy for under-served communities.
She was awarded a 2014 Presidential Citation for distinguished research contributions, inspirational teaching and mentoring, and dedicated leadership as an advocate for children, youth and HIV-affected groups. She received the 2013 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award in recognition of her outstanding record of inspiring her students to go on and purse professional work that makes a tangible difference in their communities.
Murry currently serves as the 2014 chair of the APA Committee on Psychology and AIDS, and serves on the Institute of Medicine's National Academies Board of Children, Youth and Families.