Levine to be Honored for Contributions to Field of Community Psychology

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: May 30, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Murray Levine, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, will be honored by his peers on June 5 for his contributions to the field of community psychology, of which he is considered to be a founder.

Levine will be feted at an hour-long tribute during the biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, being held at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.

The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA): Division of Community Psychology -- Division 27 of the American Psychological Association -- meets every other year apart from the APA's annual national meeting. SCRA is devoted to advancing theory, research and social action. Its members are committed, its Web site notes, to promoting health and empowerment, and to preventing problems in communities, groups and individuals.

During the "Tribute to Murray Levine," his colleagues and former students will discuss the meaning of his groundbreaking work to their own research and to the development of the field.

The field of community psychology originated, Levine says, with the community mental health and anti-poverty programs of the 1960s. The federal government at the time was moving into the area of community mental health, and "the question arose, what do we do, in addition to just serving individuals," Levine recalls, noting that from that effort came a variety of community-based services, such as half-way houses.

The field aims to develop programmatic solutions to these types of issues, he notes. "How do we think about providing services, from a programmatic and preventive standpoint, as opposed to targeting individuals, one at a time."

A UB faculty member from 1968 until his retirement in 2000, Levine continues to serve as co-editor of the journal Law & Policy, housed in the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy in the UB Law School, where he served as an adjunct professor of law. He also was co-director for many years of the university's Research Center for Children and Youth, now known as the Center for Children and Families.

The author of a major textbook, seven other books and more than 200 articles and book chapters, Levine has served as president of SCRA and has received its distinguished contribution award. He also has received its Seymour B. Sarason Award for Community Research and Action in recognition of his career accomplishments.

Levine has written extensively on a number of legal issues related to child abuse and neglect, and in 1994, was named to the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect by Donna Shalala, then U.S. secretary of health and human services. He also has served as a member of the APA's Working Group on Legal and Policy Issues in Child Abuse and Neglect, and as president of the American Psychology-Law Society, Division 41 of the APA.

His book, "Helping Children: A Social History," is considered a classic study of the evolution of child welfare services in the United States.

Levine earned a bachelor's degree from College of the City of New York, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree, magna cum laude, from UB.

He resides on the West Side of Buffalo.