Gene Brody, Regents’ Professor in the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research and co-director of the Center for Family Research, will be presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Psychological Science at its annual conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2023.
The APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award recognizes scholars with a lifetime of significant contributions to applied psychological research. According to APS President Alison Gopnik, the award is among the highest honors conferred by APS and recognizes awardees “for a lifetime of significant intellectual achievements in applied psychological research and their impact on a critical problem in society at large.”
Approaching 50 years in the field, Brody began his career at UGA in 1976 as an assistant professor in the Department of Child and Family Development in what is now the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Over the years, his scholarship has had a profound influence on the field by examining social and racial disparities in health and well-being.
His longitudinal studies that focus on strengths rather than deficits in investigating resilience among Black Americans have not only demonstrated how such work can help narrow disparities but has influenced theoretical and methodological approaches in developmental and prevention science.
“It is personally gratifying to receive this award, but I am also happy that APS has recognized the importance of our research, “says Brody.
More recently, his work has demonstrated how resilience is only “skin-deep” for some Black youth. While many achieve success in life, even in the face of economic and other social barriers, as well as racism, the striving takes a toll on their physical health, causing them to be at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and shorter life expectancies. So while such resilience is often recognized as competent coping, it can be a double-edged sword through its impact on physical health.
Much of this research has led to deeper work understanding prevention strategies and direct intervention programs which focus on strengthening family relationships, parenting processes and youth competencies as well as preventing negative outcomes. To date, 68 organizations in 52 cities across the U.S. are using the programs.
Brody has received numerous awards over the years including being named a Regents’ Professor in 2003 and receiving the Presidents’ Award of Distinction for Team Science, Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance in 2019. In 2005, he was one of a small group of invited participants at the White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth.