We are proud to announce that our very own Director of Research, Dr. J. Mark Eddy, will be the recipient of the International Collaborative Prevention Research Award given by the Society for Prevention Research at their annual meeting in Washington, DC on May 28, 2015.  He is receiving the award along with Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr., a professor in the College of Education and the director of the Center for Equity Promotion at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Eddy has been with POC for four years and brings over 25 years of experience developing and evaluating programs that aim to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. 

The two scientists are being recognized for their work with Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a group which assists the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation around the world. For the past several years, GIZ has been working with the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) and the public and private sectors across four countries in Central America on the development of a youth violence prevention program called PREVENIR.

Eddy and Martinez have played a key scientific advisory role on Miles de Manos, the program’s school-based component. Miles de Manos includes research-based skill training components for parents and for teachers, as well as a component that brings parents and teachers together to engage with each other about supporting positive youth development. Miles de Manos has gone through an extensive piloting and refinement process in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, which continues today.

“I am honored to be able to receive this award alongside my longtime colleague and friend, Charles,” said Dr. Eddy. He goes on to say that they are engaged in this work as a part of a much larger group of people, and plan to accept the award on behalf of the GIZ team; their team leaders, including PREVENIR director Rubeena Esmail and Miles de Manos coordinator Alejandro Christ; the in-country coordinators, staff members and consultants; and their colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Oregon – noting it has been a highly collaborative, cross-national effort.

“When we were invited to be involved with PREVENIR several years ago, we had no idea what kind of impact a program like Miles de Manos could have within the neighborhoods and communities in Central America that struggle with youth violence. The reasons for violence in these settings are extremely complex – many factors contribute to the current state of affairs. We’ll know more in time, but one set of efforts that we think can help make a real difference is for parents and teachers to work together more closely to build youth strengths, decrease exposure to risk factors, and shore up and expand the presence of protective factors in the lives of youth. Our greatest hope as a team is to be able to break the cycle of violence, so that youth can become positive contributors to society.” 

Drs. Eddy and Martinez have collaborated on prevention science research projects together for almost two decades. In addition to this recent work, they have led a variety of projects together, including working with immigrants from Latin America to the Pacific Northwest, with a specific focus on the well-being of children and families.

In addition, Dr. Eddy plays a key role in the development of POC’s new multi-component parenting program, Strive – an innovative parenting program that has the potential of improving the lives of countless children and families, especially those involved in the child welfare system.

Please join us in congratulating both Dr. Eddy and Dr. Martinez for their contributions to prevention science!