Meet the Organizers
Dr. Velma McBride Murry
Dr. Velma McBride Murry holds the Lois Autrey Betts endowed chair, associate provost, Office of Research and Innovation, and University Distinguished professor in the Departments of Health Policy at Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. Her research focuses on examining the significance of context to everyday life experiences of African American families and youth with specific consideration to processes through which racism, and other social structural stressors, cascade through families to influence parenting and family functioning, quality of life, and developmental outcomes and adjustment among youth, including mental and physical health. McBride Murry is associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Community Engagement Research Core, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, past president of the Society for Research on Adolescence, and president of The International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies. She was a former member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and currently serves on numerous other boards and governing councils, including the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health; Foundation for Child Development; and Society for Research in Child Development. McBride Murry is one of the 100 elected members to the 2020 Class of the National Academy of Medicine and appointed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve a four-year term to the National Institutes of Health Advisory Mental Health Research Council. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri–Columbia.
Dr. Emilie Smith
Dr. Emilie Smith is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, the Inaugural College of Social Science Distinguished Senior Scholar, and Lead of MSU Youth Equity Project, the Interdisciplinary Thematic Area on Reducing Disparities and Increasing Opportunities for Marginalized Youth at Michigan State University. Her community-engaged research seeks to understand the ways in which families, schools, and communities interact to affect positive youth development, and particularly, racial-ethnic identity and socialization among those of diverse socio-economic and geographic backgrounds. Her work involves rigorous, randomized trials and multilevel methods to examine family and community approaches that reduce disparities and increase equity drawing upon interdisciplinary partnerships. Smith is a Fellow of Division 27 (Community) of the American Psychological Association. She has served as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology, on the editorial board of Journal of Adolescent Research, and as a consulting editor for numerous other journals. She has served on the elected Executive Board of the Society for Prevention Research and currently serves on the elected Governing Council of the Society for Research on Child Development. Smith is formerly the Janette McGarity Barber Professor and Department Head of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. Her work at the local and national levels has demonstrated effective approaches to engaging often lower-income ethnic minority families into prevention research using group-based family and community, culturally-informed approaches. This is epitomized in her co-edited book volume, Preventing Youth Violence in a Multicultural Society as well as in her co-edited Special Section of the top developmental journal, Child Development, on Positive Youth Development in Diverse and Global Contexts. Her work on racial-ethnic identity and socialization among marginalized youth and social justice approaches to positive youth development is highly cited in the field. Smith has received over 20 million dollars in national and foundation funding for her research on promoting positive child and family development, along with numerous local and national awards for her research.