The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently appointed Velma McBride Murry to the National Advisory Mental Health Council. The council advises the current U.S. secretary of health and human services and the director of the National Institute for Mental Health.
McBride Murry, University Distinguished Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development, and University Distinguished Professor of Health Policy in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, will serve a four-year term. She looks forward to engaging in conversation and advocacy for mental health funding and increasing transparency around the awarding of NIMH grants.
“This appointment is an incredible opportunity to not only engage in conversation about funding, but to also bring to the director of NIMH critical issues that may impact funding, in particular, to support research and preventive interventions in behavioral health,” McBride Murry said. “I have lots of ideas, primarily around ways to increase funding for underrepresented research scholars and to elevate funding to advance health equity research. These are opportune times, and I will leverage my position on the research council to facilitate change.”
McBride Murry has conducted research on African American families and children for over a decade and examines the protective factors that deter behavioral problems and risk engagement among youth. She has designed two preventative intervention programs—the Strong African American Families (SAAF) program and Pathways for African American Success (PAAS). Both programs have demonstrated efficacy in the enhancement of parenting and family processes that foster positive outcomes for both caregivers and their children.
In the future, McBride Murry seeks to further disseminate and study implementation effectiveness of her preventive intervention programs in community and faith-based organizations, schools and primary health care settings.